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CLASS OF 1889 





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J\5<^r j^7^-^[j^<s& 3 &: ^v.:/7jiiiiBsjB«BeKay'B«sr >->* ~ .=er> 



Negro Race in America, 

FROM 1619 TO 1890, 








Principal of the Washington School, 


Edwards & Broughton, Printers and Binders. 


Satered Ac«nihs.£ u i.,i W « 

tS . A- JOv, - - •• 
:., Office of tW Libyan u ci Coug **, at *Mhtog«£ 


To the many thousand colored teachers in our 
country is this book dedicated. During my expe- 
rience of eleven years as a teacher, I have often felt 
that the children of the race ought to study some 
work that would give them a little information on 
the many brave deeds and noble characters of their 
own race. I have often observed the sin of omis- 
sion and commission on the part of white authors, 
most of whom seem to have written exclusively for 
white children, and studiously left out the many 
creditable deeds of the Negro. The general tone of 
most of the histories taught in our schools has been 
that of the inferiority of the Negro, whether 
actually said in so many words, or left to be implied 
from the highest laudation of the deeds of one race 
to the complete exclusion of those of the other. It 
must, indeed, be a stimulus to any people to be able 
to refer to their ancestors as distinguished in deeds 
of valor, and peculiarly so to the colored people. 
But how must the little colored child feel when he 
has completed the assigned course of U. S. History 
and in it found not one word of credit, not one word 
of favorable comment for even one among the mil- 
lions of his foreparents who have lived through 


nearly three centuries of his country's history ! 
The Negro is hardly given a passing notice in many 
of the histories taught in the schools ; he is credited 
with no heritage of valor; he is mentioned only as 
a slave, while true historical records prove him to 
have been among the most patriotic of patriots, 
among the bravest of soldiers, and constantly a 
God-fearing, faithful producer of the nation's wealth. 
Though a slave to this government, his was the 
first blood shed in its defense in those days when a 
foreign foe threatened its destruction. In each of 
the American wars the Negro was faithful — yes, 
faithful to a land not his own in point of rights and 
freedom, but, indeed, a land that, after he had shoul- 
dered his musket to defend, rewarded him with a 
renewed term of slavery. Patriotism and valor 
under such circumstances possess a peculiar merit 
and beauty. But such is the truth of history; and 
may I not hope that the study of this little work 
by the boys and girls of the race will inspire in 
them a new self-respect and confidence. Much, of 
course, will depend on you, dear teachers, into 
whose hands I hope to place this book. By your 
efforts and those of the children, you are to teach, 
from the truth of history, that complexions do not 
govern patriotism, valor and sterling integrity. 
My endeavor has been to shorten this work as 

Preface. 5 V 

much as I thought consistent with clearness. Per- 
sonal opinions and comments have been kept out. 
A fair, impartial statement has been my aim. Facts 
are what I have tried to give without bias or preju- 
dice, and may not something herein said hasten on 
that day when the race for which these facts are 
written, following the example of the noble men 
and women who have gone before, level themselves 
up to the highest pinnacle of all that is noble in 
human nature. 

I respectfully request that my fellow-teachers 
will see to it that the word Negro is written with a 
capital N. It deserves to be so enlarged and will 
help, perhaps, to magnify the race it stands for in 
the minds of those who see it. 

E. A. J. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 




















Introduction 7 

Beginning of Slavery in the Colonies, 14 

The New York Colony 20 

Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Con- 
necticut 22 

New Hampshire and Maryland 31 

Delaware and Pennsylvania 37 

North Carolina 38 

South Carolina 41 

Georgia 43 

Habits and Customs of the Southern 

Colonies 49 

Negro Soldiers in Revolutionary 

Times 52 

Negro Heroes of the Revolution 60 

The War of 1812 71 

Efforts for Freedom 77 

Liberia 81 

Frederick Douglass 83 

Nat. Turner and Others who Struck 

for Freedom 87 

Anti-Slavery Agitation 95 

Examples of Underground Railroad 

Work 98 




XX. Slave Population of i860 99 

XXI. The War of the Rebellion 100 

XXII. Employment of Negro Soldiers 106 

XXIII. Fort Pillow 116 

XXIV. Around Petersburg 120 

XXV. The Crater ,__ „_ 124 

XXVI. Incidents of the War --~--.. r , -- .. 129 

XXVII. The End of the War. — 1 .--ll-. v—- - 133 

XXVIII.- ■ -Reconstruction— i865~'68 ■.'_. 136 

XXIX. Progress Since Freedom r _„ 140 

XXX. Religious Progress - , 144 

XXXI. Educational Progress -__-_ 153 

XXXII. Financial Progress _. . 160 

XXXIII. Some Noted Negroes^-.--- --^-, r - -- 165 

XXXIV. FreePeopleof Color in North Carolina, 186 

XXXV. Conclusion.^. 1 192 





The Origin of the Negro is definitely known. 
Some very wise men, writing to suit prejudiced read- 
ers, have endeavored to assign the race to a separate 
creation and deny its kindred with Adam and Eve. 
But historical records prove the Negro as ancient 
as the most ancient races — for 5,000 years into the 
dim past mention is made of the Negro race. The 
Pyramids of Egypt, the great temples on the Nile, 
were either built by Negroes or people closely rela- 
ted to them. All the science and learning of ancient 
Greece and Rome was once in the hands of the 
foreparents of the American slaves. They are, 
then, descendants of a race of people once the most 
powerful on earth, the race of the Pharaohs. His- 
tory, traced from the flood, makes the three sons of 
Noah, Ham, Shem and Japheth, the progenitors of 
the three primitive races of the earth — the Mongo- 
lian, descended from Shem and settled in Southern 

8 A School History of the 

and Eastern Asia ; the Caucasian, descended from 
Japheth and settled in Europe; the Ethiopian, 
descended from Ham and settled in Africa and 
adjacent countries. From Ham undoubtedly sprung 
the Egyptians who, in honor of Ham, their great 
head, named their principal <go><iHammon or Ammon. 

Ham was the father of Canaan, from whom 
descended the powerful Canaanites so troublesome 
to the Jews. Cus/i, the oldest son of Ham, was the 
father of Nirnrod, "the mighty one in the earth" 
and founder of the Babylonian Empire. Nimrod's 
son built the unrivalled City of Nineveh in the 
picturesque valley of the Tigress. Unless the 
Bible statement be false that " God created of one 
blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the 
earth" and the best historians have erred, then the 
origin of the Negro is high enough to merit his 
proudest boasts of the past, and arouse his grandest 
hopes for the future. 

The Present Condition of the African is the result 
of the fall of the Egyptian empire, which was in 
accord with the Bible prophecj^ of all nations who 
forgot God and worshipped idols. That the Afri- 
cans were once a great people is shown by their 
natural love for the fine arts. They are poetic by 
nature, and national airs sung long ago by explor- 
ing parties in Central Africa are still held by them, 

Negro Race in America. 9 

and strike the ears of more modern travellers with 
joy and surprise. 

Ancient Cities Discovered in the very heart of 
Africa, having well laid off streets, improved wharfs, 
and conveniences for trade, connect these people 
with a better condition in the past than now. While 
many of the native Africans are desperately savage, 
yet in their poor, degraded condition it is the unani- 
mous testimony of missionaries and explorers that 
many of these people have good judgment, some 
tribes have written languages, and show skill in 
weaving cloth, smelting and refining gold andiron 
and making implements of war. 

Their Wonderful regard for truth and virtue is sur- 
prising, and fixes a great gulf between them and 
other savage peoples. They learn rapidly, and, 
unfortunately, it is too often the case that evil 
teaching is given them by the vile traders who fre- 
quent their country with an abundance of rum, 
mouths full of cursee, and the worst of bad English. 

Long Years Spent in the most debilitating climate on 
earth and violation of divine law, made the African 
what he was when the slave trade commenced in 
the 1 6th century. But his condition was not so 
bad that he could not be made a good citizen. Nay, 
he was superior to the ancient savage Briton whom 
Caesar found in England and described as unfitted 

io A School History of the 

to make respectable slaves of in the Roman Empire. 
The Briton has had eighteen centuries to be what he 
is, the Negro has had really but twenty-five years. 
Let us weigh his progress in just balances. 


"The Sphinx may have been the shrine of the 
Negro population of Egypt, who, as a people, were 
unquestionably under our average size. Three 
million Buddhists in Asia represent their chief 
deity, Buddha, with Negro features and hair. 
There are two other images of Buddha, one at 
Ceylon and the other at Calause, of which Lieu- 
tenant Mahoney says : ' Both these statues agree 
in having crisped hair and long, pendant ear- 
rings.' " — Morton. 

"The African is a man with every attribute of 
humankind. Centuries of barbarism have had the 
same hurtful effects on Africans as Pritchard 
describes them to have had on certain of the Irish 
who were driven, some generations back, to the 
hills in Ulster and Connaught" — the moral and 
physical effect are the same. 

" Ethnologists reckon the African as by no means 
the , lowest of the human family. He is nearly as 

Negro Race in America. n 

strong physically as the European ; and, as a race, 
is wonderfully persistent among the nations of the 
earth. Neither' the diseases nor the ardent spirits 
which proved so fatal to the North American 
Indians, the South Sea Islanders and Australians, 
seem capable of annihilating the Negroes. They 
are gifted with physical strength capable of with- 
standing the severest privations. Many would 
pine away in a state of slavery. No Krooman can 
be converted into a slave, and yet he is an inhabit- 
ant of the low,. unhealthy west coast; nor can any 
of the Zulu or Kaffir tribe be reduced to bondage, 
though all these live in comparatively elevated 
regions. We have heard it stated by men familiar 
with some of the Kaffirs, that a blow given, even 
in play, by a European, must be returned. A love 
of liberty is observable in all who have the Zulu 
blood, as the Makololo, the Watuta. But blood 
does not explain the fact. A beautiful Barotse 
woman at Naliele, on refusing to marry a man 
whom she did not like, was in a pet given by the 
headman to some Mambari slave traders from Ben- 
guela. Seeing her fate, she seized one of their 
spears, and, stabbing herself, fell dead." — Living- 
stone 's Works. 

"In ancient times the blacks were known to be 
so gentle to strangers that many believed tliat the 

12 A School History of the 

gods sprang from them. Homer sings of the ocean, 
father of the gods; and says that when Jupiter 
wishes to take a holiday, he visits the sea, and goes 
to the banquets of the blacks, — a people humble, 
courteous and devout." 


The following passage of scripture has been much quoted as an argument to 
prove the inferiority of the Negro race. The Devil can quote scripture but not 
always correctlv : "And Noah began to be an husbandman and he planted a vine- 
yard : and he drank of the wine, and was drunken and was uncovered in his tent, 
and Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two 
brethren without, and Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both 
their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father; 
and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness, and 
Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him, 
and he said, cursed be Canaan ; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 
And he said : Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant. 
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan 
shall be his servant." 

After the flood Noah's mission as a preacher to the people was over. He so 
recognized it himself, and settled himself down with his family on a vineyard. He 
got drunk of the wine he made and disgracefully lay in nakedness; on awaking 
from his drunken stupor and learning of Ham's acts, he in rage speaks his feelings 
to Canaan, Ham's son. He was in bad temper at this time, and spoke as one in 
such a temper in those times naturally would speak. To say he was uttering 
God's will would be a monstrosity —would be to drag the sacred words of prophecy 
through profane lips, and make God speak His will to men out of the mouth of a 
drunkard, of whom the holy writ says none can enter the kingdom. A drunken 
prophet strikes the mind with ridicule ! Yet, such was Noah, if at all — and such 
the character of that prophet, whom biased minds have chosen as the expounder 
of a curse on the Negro race. It is not strange that so few people have championed 
the curse theory of the race, when we think that in so doing they must at the same 
time endorse Noah's drunkenness. 

But, aside from this, the so-called prophecy of Noah has not become true. The 
best evidence of a prophecy is its fulfillment. Canaan's descendants have often 
conquered, though Noah said the} - would not. Goodrich makes the Canaanites, so 
powerful in the fortified cities of Ai and Jericho, the direct descendants of Canaan. 
They were among the most powerful people of olden times. They and their kin- 
dred built up Egypt, Phoenicia, the mother of the alphabet, and Nineveh and 
Babylon the two most wonderful of ancient cities. The Jews, God's chosen people, 
were enslaved by the kindred of Canaan both in Egypt and Babylon. Melchizedek 

Negro Race in America. 13 

(King of Righteousness), a sacred character of the Old Testament, was a Canaan it e. 
So, rather than being- a race of slaves as Noah predicted, the Canaanitish people 
have been the greatest people of the earth. The great nations of antiquity were in 
and around Eastern Africa and Western Asia in which is located Mt. Ararat sup- 
posed to be the spot on which the ark rested after the flood. These nations sprang 
from the four sons of Ham— Cush, Mizarim, Phut and Canaan. The Cushites were 
Ethiopians who lived in Abyssinia. The Mizarimites were Egyptians who lived in 
Egypt and so distinguished for greatness. The Canaanites occupied the country 
including Tyre and Sidon and stretching down into Arabia as far as Gaza and 
including the province of the renowned Queen of Sheba. 

In the light of true history the curse theory of the Negro melts like snow under a 
summer sun. We contend from the above facts that Noah did not utter a prophecy 
when he spoke to Canaan, and as proof of that fact we have quoted a few historical 
facts to show that if he did make such a prophecy it was not fulfilled. We will add 
further, that the part of the alleged prophecy conferring blessings on Shem and 
Japheth has also fallen without verification, in that the descendants of these two 
personages have more than once been enslaved. 

It seems hardly necessary in this age of enlightenment to refer to the Curse 
Theory argued so persistently by those who needed some such argument as an 
apology for wrong doing, but still there are some who still believe in it, having 
never cut loose from the moorings of blind prejudice. The Color Theory was also 
quite popular formerly as an argument in support of the curse of Noah. We hold 
that the color of the race is due to climatic influences, and in support of this view 
read this quotation in reference to Africa : "As we go westward we observe the 
light color predominating over the dark ; and then, again, when we come within 
the influence of the damp from the sea air, we find the shade deepened into the 
general blackness of the coast population." 

"It is well known that the Biseagan women are shining white, the inhabitants 
of Granada, on the contrary, dark, to such an extent that in this region (West 
Europe), the pictures of the blessed Virgin and other saints are painted of the same 

Black is no mark of reproach to people who do not worship white. The West 
Indians in the interior represent the devil as white. The American Indians make 
fun of the "paleface" and so does the native African. People in this country 
have been educated to believe in white because all that is good has been ascribed to 
the white race both in pictures and words. God, the angels and all the prophets 
are pictured white and the Devil is represented as black. 

14 A School History of the 



The first Negroes landed at Jamestown, Va. In 
the year 1619, a Dutch trading vessel being in need 
of supplies weighed anchor at Jamestown, and 
exchanged fourteen Negroes for food and supplies. 
The Jamestown people made slaves of these four- 
teen Negroes, but did not pass any law to that effect 
until the year 1662, when the number of slaves in 
the colony was then nearly 2,000, most of whom 
had been imported from Africa. 

How they were Employed. The Jamestown 
colony early discovered the profits of the tobacco 
crop, and the Negro slaves were largely employed 
in this industry where they proved very profitable. 
They were also enlisted in the militia, but could 
not bear arms except in defense of the colonists 
against the Indians. The greater part of the 
manual labor of all kinds was performed by the 

The Slaves Imported came chiefly from the west 
coast of Africa. They were crowded into the holds 
of ships in droves, and often suffered for food and 

Negro Race in America. 15 

drink. Many, when opportunity permitted, would 
jump overboard rather than be taken from their 
homes. Various schemes were resorted to by the 
slave-traders to get possession of the Africans. 
The}' bought many who had been taken prisoners 
by stronger tribes than their own ; they stole 
others, and some they took at the gun and pistol's 

Many of the Captives of the slave-traders sold in 
this country were from tribes possessing more or 
less knowledge of the use of tools. Some came 
from tribes skilled in making gold and ivory orna- 
ments, cloth, and magnificent steel weapons of war. 
The men had been trained to truthfulness, honest}', 
and valor, while the women were virtuous even 
unto death. While polygamy is prevalent among 
most African tribes, yet their system of marrying 
off the young girls at an early age, and thus put- 
ting them underthe guardianship of their husbands, 
is a protection to them; and the result is plainly 
seen by travellers who testify positively to the 
uprightness of the women. 

The Ancestors of the American Negroes, though 
savage in some respects, yet were not so bad as 
many people think. The native African had then, 
and he has now, much respect for what we call law 
and justice. This fact is substantiated by the 

1 6 A School History of the 

numerous large tribes existing, individuals of which 
grow to be very old, a thing that could not happen 
were there the wholesale brutalism which we are 
sometimes told exists. All native Africans univer- 
sally despise slavery, and even in . Liberia have a 
contempt for the colored people there who were 
once slaves in America. 

The Jamestown Slaves were doomed to servitude 
and ignorance both by law and custom ; they were 
not allowed to vote, and could not be set free even 
by their masters, except for "some meritorious 
service." Their religious instruction was of an 
inferior order, and slaves were sometimes given to 
the white ministers as pay for their services. 

The Free Negroes of Jamestown were in a simi- 
lar condition to that of the slaves. They could 
vote and bear arms in defence of the colony, but 
not for themselves. They were taxed to bear the 
expenses of the government, but could not be edu- 
cated in the schools they helped to build. Some of 
them managed to acquire some education and prop- 

The Negro Heroes who may have exhibited their 
heroism in many a daring feat during the early 
history of Jamestown are not known. It is unfor- 
tunate that there was no record kept except that of 
the crimes of his ancestors in this country. Judg- 

Negro Race in America. 17 

ing, however, from the records of later years, we 
may conclude that the Negro slave of Jamestown 
was not without his Banneka or Blind Tom. Cer- 
tainly his labor was profitable and may be said to 
have built up the colony. 

When John Smith became Governor of the James- 
town colony, there were none but white inhabitants ; 
their indolent habits caused him to make a law 
declaring that "he who would not work should not 
eat." Prior to this time the colony had proved a 
failure and continued so till the introduction of the 
slaves, under whose labor it soon grew prosperous 
and recovered from its hardships. 

Thomas Fuller, sometimes called "the Virginia 
Calculator," must not be overlooked in speaking 
of the record of the Virginia Negro. He was stolen 
from his home in Africa and sold to a planter near 
Alexandria, Va. His genius for mathematics won 
for him a great reputation. He attracted the atten- 
tion of such men as Dr. Benjamin Rush, of Phila- 
delphia, who, in company with others, was passing 
through Virginia. Tom was sent for by one of the 
company and asked, "how many seconds a man of 
seventy years, some odd months, weeks and days, 
had lived?" "He gave the exact number in a 
minute and a half." The gentleman who ques- 
tioned him took his pen, and after some figuring 

1 8 A School History of the 

told hini he must be mistaken, as the number was 
too great. "Top, massa!" cried Tom, "you hab 
left out the leap year" — and sure enough Tom was 
correct. — Williams. 

The following was published in several news- 
papers when Thomas Fuller died: 

"Died. — Negro Tom, the famous African Calcu- 
lator, aged 80 years. He was the property of Mrs. 
Elizabeth Cox, of Alexandria. Tom was a very 
black man. He was brought to this country at the 
age of fourteen, and was sold as a slave with many 
of his unfortunate countrymen. This man was a 
prodigy ; though he could neither read nor write, 
he had perfectly acquired the use of enumeration. 
He could give the number of months, days, weeks, 
hours, minutes and seconds for any period of time 
that a person chose to mention, allowing in his 
calculations for all the leap years that happened in 
the time. He would give the number of poles, 
yards, feet, inches and barleycorns in a given dis- 
tance — say the diameter of the earth's orbit — and in 
every calculation he would produce the true answer 
in less time than ninety-nine out of a hundred men 
would take with their pens. And what was, per- 
haps, more extraordinary, though interrupted in 
the progress of his calculations and engaged in dis- 
course upon any other subject, his operations were 

Negro Race in America. 19 

not thereby in the least deranged. He would go 011 
where he left off, and could give any and all of the 
stages through which his calculations had passed. 
Thus died Negro Tom, this untaught arithmetician, 
this untutored scholar. Had his opportunities of 
improvement been equal to those of a thousand of 
his fellowmen, neither the Royal Society of London, 
the Academy of Sciences at Paris, nor even a New- 
ton himself need have been ashamed to acknowl- 
edge him a brother in science." 

How many of his kind might there have been 
had the people of Jamestown seen fit to give the 
Negroes who came to their shores a laborer's and 
emigrant's chance, rather than enslaving them! 
Much bloodshed and dissension might thus have 
been avoided, and the honor of the nation never 
besmirched with human bondage. 

20 A School History of the 




The enslavement of the Negro seems to have 
commenced in the New York Colony abont the 
same time as at Jamestown. The slaves were used 
on the farms and became so profitable that about 
the time the English took the colony from the 
Dutch, 1664, there was a great demand for slaves, 
and the trade grew accordingly. 

The Privileges of the Slaves in New York were 
for a while a little better than in Virginia. They 
were taken into the church and baptized, and no 
law was passed to prevent their getting an educa- 
tion. But the famous Wall Street, now the finan- 
cial center of the New World, was once the scene 
of an auction block where Indians and persons of 
Negro descent were bought and sold. A whipping 
boss was once a characteristic office in New York 

The Riot of 1712 shows the feeling between the 
master and servant at that time. The Negro popu- 
lation being excluded from schools, not allowed to 
own land even when free, and forbidden to "strike 
a Christian or Jew" in self-defence, and their testi- 

Negro Race in America. 21 

mony excluded from the courts, arose in arms and 
with the torch ; houses were burned and many 
whites killed before the militia suppressed them. 
Many of the Negroes of New York were free, and 
many came from the Spanish provinces. 

22 A School History of the 



Negro slavery existed in Massachusetts as early 
as 1633. The Puritan fathers who carne to this 
country in search of liberty did not hesitate to carry 
on for more than a century a disgraceful traffic in 
human flesh and blood. The New England ships 
of the 17th century brought cargoes of Negroes 
from the west coast of Africa and the Barbadoes- 
They sold many of them in New England as well 
as in the Southern colonies. In 1764 there were 
nearly 6,000 slaves in Massachusetts, about 4,000 
in Rhode Island and the same in Connecticut. 

The Treatment of the slaves in these colonies at 
this time was regulated by laws which classed them 
as property, "being rated as horses and hogs." 
They could not bear arms nor be admitted to the 
schools. They were baptized in the churches, but 
this did not make them freemen, as it did white 

Better Treatment was given the slaves as the colo- 
nies grew older and were threatened with wars. It 
was thought that the slaves -might espouse the 

Negro Race in America. 23 

cause of the enemy, and for this reason some 
leniency was shown them. 

Judge Samuel Sewall, a Chief Justice of Massa- 
chusetts wrote a tract in 1700 warning the people 
of New England against slavery and ill treatment 
of Negroes. He said: "Forasmuch as Liberty is 
in real value next unto Life, none ought to part 
with it themselves, or deprive others of it, but upon 
most mature consideration." 

Judge Sewall's tract greatly excited the New 
England people on the subject of emancipating 
their slaves. " The pulpit and the press were not 
silent, and sermons and essays in behalf of the 
enslaved Africans were continually making their 

The Slaves Themselves aroused by these favorable 
utterances from friendly people made up petitions 
which they presented with strong arguments for 
their emancipation. A great many slaves brought 
suits against their masters for restraining them of 
their liberty. In 1774 a slave "of one Caleb 
Dodge," of Essex county, brought suit against his 
master praying for his liberty. The jury decided 
that there was "no law in the Province to hold a 
man to serve for life," and the slave of Caleb Dodge 
won the suit. 

Felix Holbrook and other slaves presented a peti- 

24 A School History of the 

tion to the Massachusetts House of Representatives 
in 1773, asking to be set free and granted soine 
unimproved lands where they might earn au honest 
living as freemen. Their petition was delayed con- 
sideration one year, and finally passed. But the 
Bnglish governors, Hutchinson and Gage, refused 
to sign it, because they perhaps thought it would 
"choke the channel of a commerce in human 

British Hatred to Negro freedom thus made itself 
plain to the New England slaves, and a few years 
later, when England fired her guns to subdue the 
revolution begun at Lexington, the slave popula- 
tion enlisted largely in the defence of the colonists. 
And thus the Negro slave by valor, patriotism and 
industry, began to loosen the chains of his own 
bondage in the Northern colonies. 


Before passing from the New England colonies 
it would be unfortunate to the readers of this book 
were they not made acquainted with the great and 
wonderful career of the young Negro slave who 
bore the above name. She came from Africa and 
was sold in a Boston slave market in the year 1761 
to a kind lady who was a Mrs. Wheatley. As she 

Negro Race in America. 25 

sat with a crowd of slaves in the market, naked, 
save a piece of cloth tied about the loins, her modest, 
intelligent bearing so attracted Mrs. Wheatley that 
she selected her in preference to all the others. Her 
selection proved a good one, for, with clean clothing 
and careful attention, Phillis soon began to show a 
great desire for learning. Though only eight years 
old, this young African, whose race all the learned 
men said were incapable of culture, within little 
over a year's time so mastered the English lan- 
guage as to be able to read the most difficult parts 
of the Bible intelligently. Her achievements in 
two or three years drew the leading lights of Boston 
to Mrs. Wheatley's house, and with them she talked 
and carried on correspondence concerning the popu- 
lar topics of the day. Everybody either knew or 
knew of Phillis. She became skilled in Latin and 
translated one of Ovid's stories, which was published 
largely in English magazines. She published 
many poems in English, one of which was addressed 
to General George Washington. He sent her the 
following letter in reply, which shows that Wash- 
ington was as great in heart as in war: 

"Cambridge, 28th February, 1776. 
" Miss Phillis : — Your favor of the 26th of Octo- 
ber did not reach my hands till the middle of 

26 A School History of the 

December. * * * * I thank you most sin- 
cerely for your polite notice of me in the elegant 
lines you enclosed; and however undeserving ' I 
may be of such encomium and panegyric, the style 
and manner exhibit a striking proof of your poetical 
talents, in honor of which, and as a tribute justly 
due to you, I would have published the poem, had 
I not been apprehensive that, while I only meant 
to give the world this new instance of your genius, 
I might have incurred the imputation of vanity. 
This, and nothing else, determined me not to give 
it place in the public prints. 

"If you should ever come to Cambridge, or near 
headquarters, I shall be happy to see a person so 
favored by the Muses, and to whom Nature has been 
so liberal and beneficent in her dispensations. I 
am with great respect, 

"Your humble servant, 

— Williams. 

Phillis was emancipated at the age of twenty-one. 
Soon after that her health failed and she was sent 
to Europe, where she created even a greater sensa- 
tion than in America. Men and women in the very 
highest stations of the Old World were wonder- 
struck, and industriously attentive to this humble 

Negro Race in America. 27 

born African girl. While Phillis was away Mrs. 
Wheatley became seriously ill and her daily long- 
ings were to see "her Phillis," to whom she was so 
much devoted. It is related that she would often 
turn on her sick-couch and exclaim, "See! Look 
at my Phillis! Does she not seem as though she 
would speak to me?" Phillis was sent for to come, 
and in response to the multitude of kindnesses done 
her by Mrs. Wheatley, she hastened to her bed-side 
where she arrived just before Mrs. Wheatley died, 
and "shortly had time to close her sightless eyes." 

Mr. Wheatley after the death of his wife, mar- 
ried again and settled in England. Phillis being 
thus left alone also married. Her husband was 
named Peters. He, far inferior to her in most every 
way, and becoming jealous of the favors shown her 
by the best of society, became very cruel. Phillis 
did not long survive his harsh treatment, and she 
died "greatly beloved" and mourned on two con- 
tinents on December 5th, 1784, at the age cf 31. 

Thus passed away one of the brightest of the 
race, whose life was as pure as a crystal and devo- 
ted to the most beautiful in poetry, letters and reli- 
gion, and exemplifies the capabilities of the race. 

She composed this verse: — 

" 'Twas mercy brought me from my pagan laud, 
Taught my benighted soul to understand 
That there's a God — that there's a Saviour too ; 
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew." 

28 A School History of the 

Contrary to the Connecticut slaveholders' feigned 
unbelief in the intellectual capacity of the Negro, 
and their assertions of his utter inferiority in all 
things, they early enacted the most rigid laws pro- 
hibiting the teaching of any Negro to read, bond or 
free, with a penalty of several hundred dollars for 
every such act. The following undeniable story is 
woven into the fabric of Connecticut's history, and 
tells a sad tale of the prejudice of her people against 
the Negro during the days of slavery there : 

"Prudence Crandall a young Quaker lady of 
talent was employed to teach a ' boarding and day- 
school.' While at her post of duty one day, Sarah 
Harris, whose father was a well-to-do colored farmer, 
applied for admission. Miss Crandall hesitated 
somewhat to admit her, but knowing the girl's 
respectability, her lady-like and modest deportment, 
for she was a member of the white people's church 
and well known to them, she finally told her yes. 
The girl came. Soon Miss Crandall was called 
upon by the patrons, announcing their disgust and 
loathing that their daughters should attend school 
with a ' nigger girl.' Miss Crandall protested, but 
to no avail. The white pupils were finally taken 
from the school. Miss Crandall then opened a 
school for colored ladies. She enrolled about twenty, 
but they were subjected to many outrageous insults. 

Negro Race in America. 29 

They were denied accommodation altogether in the 
village of Canterbury. Their well was filled up 
with trash, and all kinds of unpleasant and annoy- 
ing acts were thrust upon them. The people felt 
determined that Canterbury should not have the 
disgrace of a colored school. No, not even the State 
of Connecticut. Miss Crandall sent to Brooklyn 
to some of her friends. They plead in her behalf 
privately, and went to a town meeting to speak for 
her, but were denied the privilege. Finally, the 
Legislature passed a law prohibiting colored schools 
in the State. From the advice of her friends and 
her own strong will, Miss Crandall continued to 
teach. She was arrested and her friends were sent 
for. They came, but would not be persuaded by 
the sheriff and other officers to stand her bond. 
The people saw the disgrace and felt ashamed to 
have it go down in history that she was put in jail. 
In agreement with Miss Crandall's wishes her 
friends still persisted, so about night she was put 
in jail, into a murderer's cell. The news flashed over 
the country, much to the Connecticut people's 
chagrin and disgrace. She had her trial — the Court 
evaded giving a decision. She opened her school 
again, and an attempt was made to burn up the 
building while she and the pupils were there, but 
proved unsuccessful. One night about midnight 

30 A School History of the 

they were aroused to find themselves besieged by 
persons with heavy iron bars and clubs breaking 
the windows and tearing things to pieces. It was 
then thought unwise to continue the school longer. 
So the doors were closed and the poor girls, whose 
only offense was a manifestation for knowledge, 
were sent to their homes. This law, however, was 
repealed in 1838, after lasting five years. 

Negro Race in America. 3 1 



New Hampshire slaves were very few in number. 
The people of this colony saw the evils of slavery 
very early and passed laws against their importa- 
tion. Massachusetts was having so much trouble 
with her slaves that the New Hampshire people 
early made up their minds that, as a matter of busi- 
ness, as well as of humanity, they had best not try 
to build up their colony by dealing in human flesh 
and blood. 

Maryland was, up to 1630, a part of Virginia, and 
slavery there partook of the same features. Owing 
to the feeling existing in the colony between the 
Catholics who planted it, and the Protestants, the 
slaves were treated better than in some other 
provinces. Yet their lot was a hard one at best; 
by law a white person could kill a slave and not 
suffer death ; only pay a fine. 

White Slaves existed in this colony, many of 
whom came as criminals from England. They, it 
seems, were chiefly domestic servants, while the 
Negroes worked the tobacco fields. 

32 A School History of the 


Bauneka was born in Maryland in the year 1731. 
An English woman named Molly Welsh, who came 
to Maryland as an emigrant, is said to have been 
his maternal grandmother. This woman was sold 
as a slave to pay her passage to this country on 
board an emigrant ship; and after serving out her 
term of slavery she bought two Negro slaves her- 
self. These slaves were men of extraordinary 
powers, both of mind and body. One of them, said 
to be the son of an African king, was set free by 
her, and she soon married him. There were four 
children, and one of them, named Mary, married a 
native African, Robert Banneka, who was the father 
of Benjamin. 

The School Days of young Benjamin were spent 
in a "pay school" where some colored children 
were admitted. The short while that Benjamin 
was there he learned to love his books, and when 
the other children played he was studying. He 
was very attentive to his duties on his father's farm, 
and when through with his task of caring for the 
horses and cows, he would spend his leisure hours 
in reading books and papers on the topics of the 

Negro Race in America. 33 

The Post-Office was the famous gathering place 
iu those days, and there it was that young Benjamin 
was accustomed to go. He met many of the lead- 
ing people of the community and fluently discussed 
with them difficult questions. He could answer 
almost any problem put to him in mathematics, and 
became known throughout the colonies as a genius. 
Many of his answers to questions were beyond the 
reach of ordinary minds. 

Messrs. Ellicott & Co., who built flour mills on 
the Patapsco River near Baltimore, very early dis- 
covered Banneka's genius, and Mr. George Ellicott 
allowed him the use of his library and astronomical 
instruments. The result of this was that Benjamin 
Banneka published his first almanac in the year 
1792, said to be the first almanac published in 
America. Before that he had made numerous cal- 
culations in astronomy and constructed for himself 
a splendid clock that, unfortunately, was burned 
with his dwelling soon after his death. 

Banneka's Reputation spread all over America 
and even to Europe. He drew to him the associa- 
tion of the best and most learned men of his coun- 
try. His ability was a curiosity to everybody, and 
did much to establish the fact that the Negro of his 
time could master the arts and sciences. It is said 
that he was the master of five different languages, 

34 A School History of the 

as well as a mathematical and astronomical genius. 
He accompanied and assisted the commissioners 
who surveyed the District of Columbia. 

He sent Mr. Thomas Jefferson one of his almanacs, 
which Mr. Jefferson prized so highly he sent it to 
Paris and wrote Mr. Banneka the following letter 
in reply. Along with Mr. Banneka's almanac to 
Mr. Jefferson, he sent a letter pleading for better 
treatment of the people of African descent in the 
United States. 

mr. jefferson's letter to b. banneka. 

"Philadelphia, August 30th, 1791. 
" Dear Sir: — I thank you sincerely for your let- 
ter of the 19th instant, and for the almanac it con- 
tained. Nobody wishes more than I do to see such 
proofs as you exhibit that Nature has given to our 
black brethren talents equal to those of the other 
colors of men, and that the appearance of a want of 
them is owing only to the degraded condition of 
their existence, both in Africa and America. I can 
add, with truth, that no one wishes more ardently 
to see a good system commenced for raising the 
condition, both of their body and mind, to what it 
ought to be, as fast as the imbecility of their present 
existence, and other circumstances which cannot be 
neglected, will admit. I have taken the liberty of 

Negro Race in America. 35 

sending your almanac to Monsieur de Cordorat, 
Secretary of the Academy of Sciences at Paris and 
member of the Philanthropic Society, because I 
considered it a document to which your whole color 
had a right for their justification against the doubts 
which have been entertained of them. 
"I am, with great esteem, sir, 

"Your most obedient servant, 


Mr. Benjamin Banneka, near EllicoWs 
Lower Mills, Baltimore County. 

The Personal Appearance of Mr. Banneka is drawn 
from the letters of those who wrote about him. A 
certain gentleman who met him at Ellicott's Mills 
gives this description: "Of black complexion, 
medium stature, of uncommonly soft and gentle- 
manly manners, and of pleasing colloquial powers." 

Mr. Banneka died about the year 1804,-. very 
greatly mourned by the people of this country and 
Europe. He left two sisters, who, according to his 
request, turned over his books, papers and astronom- 
ical calculations to Mr. Ellicott. There has been 
no greater mind in the possession of any American 
citizen than that of Benjamin Banneka. He stands 
out in history as one of those phenomenal charac- 
ters whose achievements seem to be nothing short 
of miraculous. 

36 A School History of the 

Francis Ellen Watkins was another of Maryland's 
bright slaves. She distinguished herself as an 
anti-slavery lecturer in the Eastern States, and wrote 
a book entitled, "Poems and Miscellaneous Writings: 
By Francis Ellen Watkins." In that book was the 
following poem entitled, "Ellen Harris": 

(1) L,ike a fawn from the arrow, startled and wild, 
A woman swept by me bearing a child ; 

In her eye was the night of a settled despair, 

And her brow was overshadowed with anguish and care. 

(2) She was neariug the river, — on reaching the brink 
She heeded no danger, she paused not to think ! 
For she is a mother — her child is a slave, — 

And she'll give him his freedom or find him a grave ! 

(3) But she's free, — yes, free from the land where the slave 
From the hand of oppression must rest in the grave ; 
Where bondage and torture, where scourges and chains, 
Have placed on our banner indelible stains. 

(4) The blood-hounds have missed the scent of her wa3>- ; 
The hunter is rifled and foiled of his prey ; 

Fierce jargon and cursing, with clanking of chains, 
Make sounds of strange discord on Liberty's plains. 

(5) With the rapture of love and fullness of bliss, 
She placed on his brow a mother's fond kiss, — 
Oh! poverty, danger and death she can brave, 
For the child of her love is no longer a slave! 

Negro Race in America. ^y 



Delaware was settled, as you will remember, by 
the Swedes and Danes in 1639. They were a 
simple, contented and religious people. It is 
recorded that they had a law very early in their 
history declaring it was "not lawful to buy and 
keep slaves." It is very evident, though, that later 
on in the history of the colony slaves were held, 
and their condition was the same as in New York. 
While the north of the colony was perhaps fully in 
sympathy with slavery, the western part was influ- 
enced by the religious sentiment of the Quakers in 

The Friends of Pennsylvania were opposed to 
slavery, and although slavery was tolerated by law, 
the way was left open for their education and relig- 
ious training. In 1688 Francis Daniel Pastorious* 
addressed a memorial to the Friends of German- 
town. His was said to be the first protest against 
slavery made by any of the churches of America. 
He believed that "slave and slave-owner should 
be equal at the Master's feet." 

William Penn showed himself friendly to the 

* Williams. 

38 A School History of the 



This colony in geographical position lies between 
South Carolina and Virginia. While it held slaves, 
it may be justly said its position on this great 
question was not so burdensome to the slave as the 
other Southern colonies, and even to the present 
time the Negroes and whites of this State seem to 
enjoy the most harmonious relations. The slave 
laws of this State gave absolute dominion of the 
master over the servant, but allowed him to join 
the churches from the first. Large communities of 
free Negroes lived in this State prior to the civil 
war and for a long time could vote. They had 
some rights of citizenship and many of them became 
men of note. 

Prior to the Civil War there were schools for these 
free people. Some of them owned slaves themselves. 
In this colony the slaves were worked as a rule on 
small farms and there was a close relation estab- 
lished between master and slave, which bore its 
fruits in somewhat milder treatment than was 
customary in colonies where the slaves lived on 

Negro Race in America. 39 

large cotton plantations governed by cruel overseers, 
some of whom were imported from the North. 

The Eastern Section of North Carolina was thickly 
peopled with slaves, and some landlords owned as 
many as two thousand. 

The increase and surplusage of the slave popula- 
tion in this State was sold to the more Southern 
colonies, where they were used 011 the cotton planta- 


George M. Horton was his name. He was the 
slave of James M. Horton, of Chatham County, 
N. C. Several of his special poems were published 
in the Raleigh Register. In 1829, A. M. Gales, of 
this State, afterwards of the firm of Gales & Seaton, 
Washington, D. C, published a volume of the slave 
Horton's poems which excited the wonder and 
admiration of the best men in this country. His 
poems reached Boston where they were much talked 
of and used as an argument against slavery. Hor- 
ton, at the time his volume was published, could 
read but not write, and was, therefore, compelled to 
dictate his productions to some one who wrote them 
down for him. He afterwards learned to write. He 
seemed to have concealed all his achievements from 
his master, who knew nothing of his slave's ability 

4-0 A School History of the 

except what others told him. He simply knew 
George as a field-hand, which work he did faithfully 
and honestly, and wrote his poetry too. Though a 
slave, his was a noble soul inspired with the Muse 
from above. The Raleigh Register said of him, 
July 2d, 1829: "That his heart has felt deeply and 
sensitively in this lowest possible condition of 
human nature (meaning slavery), will be easily 
believed and is impressively confirmed by one of 
his stanzas, viz.: 

" Come melting pity from afar, 
And break this vast, enormous bar 
Between a wretch and thee ; 
Purchase a few short days of time, 
And bid a vassal soar sublime 
On wings of Liberty." 

Negro Race in America. 41 



Charters for the settlement of North and South 
Carolina were obtained at the same time — 1663. 
Slavery commenced with the colony. Owing to 
the peculiar fitness of the soil for the production of 
rice and cotton, slave labor was in great demand. 
White labor failed, and the colony was marvelously 
prosperous under the slave system. Negroes were 
imported from Africa by the thousands. Their 
labor proved very productive, and here it was that 
the slave code reached its maximum of harshness. 

A Negro Regiment in the service of Spain was 
doing duty in Florida, and through it the Spanish, 
who were at dagger's ends with the British colonies, 
sent out spies who offered inducements to such of 
the South Carolina slaves as would runaway and 
join them. Many slaves ran away. Very rigid 
and extreme laws were passed to prevent slaves 
from running away, such as branding and cutting 
the " ham-string " of the leg. 

A Riot followed the continued cruel treatment of 
slaves under the runaway code ; 1748 is said to have 
been the year in which a crowd of slaves assembled in 

42 A School History of the 

the village of Stono, slew the guards at the arsenal 
and secured the ammunition there. They then 
marched to the homes of several leading men whom 
they murdered, together with their wives and chil- 
dren. The slaves captured considerable rum in 
their plundering expedition, and having indulged 
very freely stopped for a frolic, and in the midst of 
their hilarity were Captured by the whites, and 
thus ended the riot. 

The Discontent of the Slaves grew, however, in 
spite of the speedy ending of this attempt at insur- 
rection. Cruel and inhuman treatment was bear- 
ing its fruits in a universal dissatisfaction of the 
slaves, and in South Carolina, as in Massachusetts, 
it began to be a serious question as to what side 
the slaves would take 'in the war of the coming 
Revolution. England offered freedom and money 
to slaves who would join her army. The people of 
South Carolina did not wait long before they allowed 
the Negroes to enlist in defence of the colonies, and 
highly complimented their valor. If a slave killed 
a Briton he was emancipated ; if he were taken 
prisoner and escaped back into the Province he was 
also set free. 

Negro Race in America. 43 



From the time of its settlement in 1732 till 1750 
this colony held no slaves. Manyof the inhabitants 
were anxious for the introduction of slaves, and 
when the condition of the colony finally became 
hopeless they sent many long petitions to the Trus- 
tees, stating that a the one thing needful" for their 
prosperity was Negroes. It was a long time before 
the Trustees would give their consent; they said 
that the colony of Georgia was designed to be a 
protection to South Carolina and the other more 
Northern colonies against the Spanish, who were 
then occupying Florida, and if the colonists had to 
control slaves it would weaken their power to 
defend their colonies. Finally, owing to the hope- 
less condition of the Georgia colony, the Trustees 
yielded. Slaves were introduced in large numbers. 

Prosperity came with the slaves, and, as in the 
case of Virginia, the colony of Georgia took a fresh 
start and began to prosper. White labor proved a 
failure. It was the honest and faithful toil of the 
Negro that turned the richness of Georgia's soil 
into English gold, built cities and created large 

44 A School History of the 

estates, gilded mansions furnished with gold and 
silver plate.* 

Oglethorpe Planned the Georgia colony as a home 
for Englishmen who had failed in business and 
were imprisoned for their debts. These English 
people were out of place in the wild woods of 
America, and continued a failure in America, as well 
as in England, until the toiling but "heathen" 
African came to their aid. 

Cotton Plantations were numerous in Georgia 
under the slave system. The slave-owners had 
large estates, numbering thousands of acres in 
many cases. The slaves were experts in the cul- 
ture of cotton. The climate was adapted to sugar- 
cane and rice, both of which were raised in abund- 

blount's fort. 

This fortification, erected by some of the armies 
during the early colonial wars, had been abandoned. 

* The famous minister, George Whitfield, referring to his plantation in this 
colony, said : " Upward of five thousand pounds have been expended in the under- 
taking, and yet very little proficiency made in the cultivation of my tract of land, 
and that entirely owing to the necessity I lay under of making use of white hands. 
Had a Negro been allowed I should now have had a sufficiency to support a great 
many orphans, without expending above half the sum which has been laid out." 
He purchased a plantation in South Carolina, where slavery existed, and speaks 
of it thus : " Blessed be God ! This plantation has succeeded ; and though at pres- 
ent I have only eight working hands, yet, in all probability, there will be more 
raised in one year, and without a quarter of the expense, than has been produced 
at Bethesda for several years past. This confirms me in the opinion I have enter- 
tained for a long time, that Georgia never can or will be a flourishing province 
without Negroes are allowed." 

Negro Race in America. 45 

It lies on the west bank of the Apalachicola River 
in Florida, forty miles from the Georgia line. Negro 
refugees from Georgia fled into the everglades of 
Florida as a hiding-place during the war of the 
Revolution. In these swamps they remained for 
forty years successfully baffling all attempts to 
re-enslave them. Many of those who planned the 
escape at first were now dead, and their children 
had grown up to hate the lash and love liberty. 
Their parents had taught them that to die in the 
swamps with liberty was better than to feast as a 
bondman and a slave. When Blount's Fort was 
abandoned and taken possession of by these children 
of the swamp, there were three hundred and eleven 
of them, out of which not more than twenty had 
ever been slaves. They were joined by other slaves 
who ran away as chance permitted. The neighbor- 
ing slave-holders attempted to capture these people 
but failed. The} 7 finally called on the President of 
the United States for aid. General Jackson, then 
commander of the Southern militia, delegated Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Clinch to take the Fort and reduce 
these people to slavery again. His sympathies 
being with the refugees, he marched to the fort and 
returned, reporting that "the fortification was not 
accessible by land." 

Commodore Patterson next received orders. He 

46 A School History of the 

commanded the American fleet, then lying in 
Mobile Bay. A "sub-order was given instantly to 
Lieutenant Loomis to ascend the Apalachicola River 
with two gun-boats, to seize the people in Blount's 
Fort, deliver them to their owners, and destroy the 
fort." At early dawn on the morning of September 
the 17th, 1816, the two boats, with full sail catching 
a gentle breeze, moved up the river towards the fort. 
They lowered a boat on their arrival and twelve 
men went ashore. They were met at the water's 
edge and asked their errand by a number of the 
leading men of the fort. Lieutenant Loomis 
informed them that he came to destroy the fort and 
turn over its inmates to the "slave-holders, then on 
board the gun-boat, who claimed them as fugitive 
slaves." The demand was rejected. The colored 
men returned to the fort and informed the inmates. 
Great consternation prevailed. The women were 
much distressed, but amid the confusion and excite- 
ment there appeared an aged father whose back 
boie the print of the lash, and whose shoulder bore 
the brand of his master. He assured the people 
that the fort could not be taken, and ended his 
speech with these patriotic words : " Give me liberty, 
or give me death." The shout went up from the 
entire fort as from one man, and they prepared to 
face the enemy. 

The Gun-boats Soon Opened Fire. For several 

Negro Race in America. 47 

hours they buried balls into the earthen walls and 
injured no one. Bombs were then fired. These 
had more effect, as there was no shelter from them. 
Mothers were more careful to hug their young 
babies closer to their bosoms. All this seemed little 
more than sport for the inmates of the fort, who saw 
nothing but a joke in it after shelter had been 

Lieutenant Loomis saw his failure. He had a 
consultation and it was agreed to fire "hot shot at 
the magazine." So the furnaces were heated and 
the fier}^ flames began to whizz through the air. 
This last stroke was effectual, the hot shot set the 
magazine on fire and a terrible explosion covered 
the entire place with debris. Many were instantl} 7 
killed by the falling earth and timbers. The 
mangled limbs of mothers and babies lay side by 
side. It was now dark. Fifteen persons in the fort 
had survived the explosion. The sixty sailors and 
officers now entered, trampling over the wounded 
and dying, and took these fifteen refugees in hand- 
cuffs and ropes back to the boats. The dead, 
wounded and dying were left. 

As the two boats moved away from this scene of 
carnage the sight weakened the veteran sailors on 
board the boats, and when the officers retired the 
weather-worn sailors "gathered before the mast, 
and loud and bitter were the curses uttered aeainst 

48 A School History of the 

slavery and against the officers of the government 
who had thus constrained them to murder innocent 
women and helpless children, merely for their love 
of liberty." 

The Dead Remained unburied in the fort. The 
wounded and dying were not cared for and all were 
left as fat prey for vultures to feast upon. For 
fifty years afterward the bones of these brave people 
lay bleaching in the sun. Twenty years after the 
murder a Representative in Congress from one of 
the free States introduced a bill giving a gratuity 
to the perpetrators of this crime. The bill passed 
both houses. 

Having briefly considered the establishment of 
slavery in the colonies, where the Negro slave was 
employed in every menial occupation, and where 
he accepted the conditions imposed upon him with 
a full knowledge of the wrong done, but still jubi- 
lant with songs of hope for deliverance, and trust 
in God whose promises are many to the faithful, 
let us turn to 

The War of the Revolution which soon came on ; 
and in it Providence no doubt designed an oppor- 
tunity for the race to loosen up the rivets in the 
chains that bound them. They made good of this 

Negro Race in America. 49 



Barnes Gives the following account of the habits 
and customs of the Southern colonies during the 
days of slavery : 

"The Southern Colonists differed widely from the 
Northern in habits and style of living. In place of 
thickly settled towns and villages, they had large 
plantations, and were surrounded by a numerous 
household of servants. The Negro quarters formed 
a hamlet apart, with its gardens and poultry yards. 
An estate in those days was a little empire. The 
planter had among his slaves men of every trade, 
and they made most of the articles needed for com- 
mon use upon the plantation. There were large 
sheds for curing tobacco, and mills for grinding 
corn and wheat. The tobacco was put up and con- 
signed directly to England. The flour of the Mount 
Vernon estate was packed under the eye of Wash- 
ington himself, and we are told that barrels of flour 
bearing his brand passed in the West India market 
without inspection. 

50 A School History of the 

"Up the Ashley and Cooper (near Charleston), were 
the remains of the only bona fide nobility ever estab- 
lished on our soil. There the descendants of the 
Landgraves, who received, their title in accordance 
with Locke's grand model, occupied their manorial 
dwellings. Along the banks of the James and 
Rappahannock, the plantation often passed from 
father to son, according to the law of entail. 

" The heads of these great Southern families lived 
like lords, keeping their packs of choice hunting 
dogs, and their stables of blooded horses, and roll- 
ing to church or town in their coach of six, with 
outriders on horseback. Their spacious mansions 
were sometimes built of imported brick. Within, 
the grand staircases, the mantels, and the wainscot, 
reaching in a quaint fashion from floor to ceiling, 
were of mahogany elaborately carved and paneled. 
The sideboards shone with gold and silver plate 
and the tables were loaded with the luxuries of the 
Old World. Negro servants thronged about, ready 
to perforin every task. 

"All Labor was done by Slaves, it being considered 
degrading for a white man to work. Even the 
superintendence of the plantation and slaves was 
generally committed to overseers, while the master 
dispensed a generous hospitality, and occupied him- 
self with social and political life." 

Negro Race in America. 51 


In Virginia, the last of August, 161 9. 

In New York, 162S. 

In Massachusetts, 1637. 

In Maryland, 1634. 

In Delaware, 1636. 

In Connecticut, between 163 1 and 1636. 

In Rhode Island from the beginning, 1647. 

New Jersey, not known, as early, though, as in 
New Netherland. 

South Carolina and North Carolina from the 
earliest days of existence. 

In New Hampshire, slavery existed from the 

Pennsylvania doubtful. 

52 A School History of the 



Objections to Enlisting Negroes caused much dis- 
cussion at the beginning of the Revolutionary war. 
The Northern colonies partially favored their enlist- 
ment because they knew of their bravery, and 
rightly reasoned that if the Negroes were not 
allowed to enlist in the Colonial army, where their 
sympathies were, they would accept the proposi- 
tions of the British, who promised freedom to every 
slave who would desert his master and join the 
English army. 

Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, and the 
other British leaders, saw a good chance to weaken 
the strength of the colonies by offering freedom to 
the slaves if they would fight for England. They 
knew that the slaves would be used to throw up 
fortifications, do fatigue duties, and raise the pro- 
visions necessary to support the Colonial army. 
So Lord Dunmore issued a proclamation offering 
freedom to all slaves who would join his army. As 
the result of this, Thomas Jefferson is quoted as 

Negro Race in America. 53 

saying 30,000 Negroes from Virginia alone joined 
the British ranks. 

The Americans became fearfnl of the results that 
were sure to follow the plans of Lord Dnnmore. 
Sentiment began to change in the Negro's favor; 
the newspapers were filled with kind words for the 
slaves, trying to convince them that the British 
Government had forced slavery upon the colonies 
against their will, and that their best interests were 
centred in the triumph of the Colonial army. A 
part of an article in one paper, headed "Caution to 
the Negro," read thus: " Can it, then, be supposed 
that the Negroes will be better used by the English, 
who have always encouraged and upheld this 
slavery, than by their present masters, who pity 
their condition ; who wish in general to make it as 
easy and comfortable as possible, and who would, 
were it in their power, or were they permitted, not 
only prevent any more Negroes from losing their 
freedom, but restore it to such as have already unhap- 
pily lost it. :|: : ' : :i: They will send the Negroes 
to the West Indies where every year they sell many 
thousands of their miserable brethren. Be not 
tempted, ye Negroes, to ruin yourselves by this 
proclamation. " The colonies finally allowed the 
enlistment of Negroes, their masters being paid for 
them out of the public treasury. Those slaves 

54 A School History of the 

who had already joined the British were offered 
pardon if they would escape and return, and a 
severe punishment was to be inflicted on those who 
left the colony if they were caught. 

To Offset the Plans of Lord Dunmore, the Ameri- 
cans proposed to organize a Negro army to be com- 
manded by the brave Col. Laurens ; and on this 
subject the following letter was addressed to John 
Jay, President of Congress, by the renowned Alex- 
ander Hamilton. This letter also shows in what 
esteem the Negro slave of America was held by men 
of note: 

"Headquarters, March 14, 1779. 
" To John Jay. 

"Dear Sir: Col. Laurens, who will have the 
honor of delivering you this letter, is on his way 
to South Carolina on a project which I think, in 
the present situation of affairs there, is a very good 
one, and deserves every kind of support and 
encouragement. This is to raise two, or three, or 
four battalions of Negroes, with the assistance of 
the government of that State, by contributions from 
the owners in proportion to the number they pos- 
sess. If you think proper to enter upon the sub- 
ject with him, he will give you a detail of his 
plan. He wishes to have it recommended by Con- 

Negro Race in America. 55 

gress and the State, and, as an inducement, they 
should engage to take those battalions into Conti- 
nental pay. 

"It appears to me that an expedient of this kind, 
in the present state of Southern affairs, is the 
most rational that can be adopted and promises 
very important advantages. Indeed, I hardly see 
how a sufficient force can be collected in that quar- 
ter without it, and the enemy's operations are grow- 
ing infinitely more serious and formidable. I have 
not the least doubt that the Negroes will make very 
excellent soldiers with proper management ; and I 
will venture to pronounce that they cannot be put 
in better hands than those of Mr. Laurens. He has 
all the zeal, intelligence, enterprise, and every other 
qualification necessary to succeed in such an under- 
taking. It is a maxim with some great military 
judges that, "with sensible officers, soldiers can 
hardly be too stupid"; and, on this principle, it is 
thought that the Russians would make the best 
troops in the world if they were under other officers 
than their own. I mention this, because I hear it 
frequently objected to, the scheme of embodying 
Negroes, that they are too stupid to make soldiers. 
This is so far from appearing, to me, a valid objec- 
tion, that I think their want of cultivation (for their 
natural faculties are probably as good as ours), 

56 A School History of the 

joined to that habit of subordination from a life of 
servitude, will make them sooner become soldiers 
than our white inhabitants. Let officers be men 
of sense and sentiment, and the nearer the soldiers 
approach to machines perhaps the better. 

"I foresee that this project will have to combat 
much opposition from prejudice and self-interest. 
The contempt we have been taught to entertain for 
the blacks, makes us fancy many things that 
are founded neither in reason nor experience, and 
an unwillingness to part with property of so val- 
uable a kind will furnish a thousand arguments 
to show the impracticability or pernicious tendency 
of a scheme which requires such a sacrifice. But 
it should be considered that if we do not make 
use of them in this way the enemy probably will ; 
and that the best way to counteiact the temptations 
they hold out will be to offer them ourselves. An 
essential part of the plan is to give them their 
freedom with their muskets. This will secure 
their fidelity, animate their courage, and, I believe, 
will have a good influence upon those who remain 
by opening the door to their emancipation. This 
circumstance, I confess, has no small weight in 
inducing me to wish the success of the project, for 
the dictates of humanity and true policy equally 

Negro Race in America. 57 

interest me in favor of this unfortunate class of 
men. With the truest respect and esteem, I am, 
sir, Your most obedient servant, 

"Alex. Hamilton." 

George Washington, James Madison, and the Con- 
tinental Congress gave their consent to the plan of 
Col. Laurens, and recommended it to the South- 
ern colonies. It was resolved by Congress to com- 
pensate the master for the slaves used by Col. Lau- 
rens at the rate of $1,000 apiece for each "able- 
bodied negro man of standard size, not exceeding 
thirty-five years of age, who shall be so enlisted 
and pass muster. That no pay be allowed to the 
said Negroes, but that they be clothed and sub- 
sisted at the expense of the United States ; . that 
every Negro who shall well and faithfully serve 
as a soldier to the end of the present war, and shall 
then return his arms, shall be emancipated and 
receive the sum of fifty dollars." 

Congress commissioned Col. Laurens to carry 
out this plan. "He repaired to South Carolina 
and threw all his energies into his noble mis- 
sion." The people of the States of Georgia and 
South Carolina refused to co-operate with him. 
It was difficult to get white troops to enlist. The 
Tories, who opposed the war against England, 

58 A School History of the 

were very strong in several of the Southern col- 

A Letter from General Washington will help us to 
understand the condition of affairs in South Caro- 
lina and Georgia. He wrote to Col. Laurens as 
follows : "I must confess that I am not at all 
astonished at the failure of your plan. That spirit 
of freedom which, at the commencement of this 
contest, would have gladly sacrificed everything to 
the attainment of its object, has long since subsided, 
and every selfish passion has taken its place. It is 
not the public but private interest which influences 
the generality of mankind, nor can the Americans 
any longer boast an exception. Under these cir- 
cumstances it would rather have been surprising 
if you had succeeded, nor will you, I fear, have 
better success in Georgia." 

Col. Laurens was killed in battle, but he had not 
entirely abandoned his plan of enlisting the slaves. 
But in spite of the recommendations of Congress 
he could not succeed, for the States of South Caro- 
lina and Georgia coveted their slaves too much to 
allow this entering wedge to their ultimate freedom. 
Had his plan been carried out slaver}'- would prob- 
ably have been abolished as soon at the South as at 
the North. The Negroes who would have come out 
of the war of the Revolution, would have set them- 

Negro Race in America. 59 

selves to work to relieve the condition of their 
brethren in shackles. 

Connecticut Failed to endorse the enlistment of 
Negroes by its Legislature, but Mr. Williams in his 
history gives the roster of a company of Negroes 
in that State, numbering fifty-seven, with David 
Humphreys Captain. White officers refused to 
serve in the company. David Humphreys con- 
tinued at the head of this force until the war closed. 

60 A School History of the 



Among Those whose blood was first shed for the 
cause of American liberty was the runaway slave, 
Crispus -Attucks. Having escaped from his master, 
William Brown, of Framingham, Massachusetts, at 
the age of twenty-seven, being then six feet two 
inches high, with "short, curled hair," he made his 
way to Boston. His master in 1750 offered a 
reward of ten pounds for him, but Crispus was not 
found. When next heard from he turns up in the 
streets of Boston. 


Attucks had no doubt been listening to the 
fiery eloquence of the patriots of those burning 
times. The words of the eloquent Otis had kindled 
his soul, and though a runaway slave, his patriot- 
ism was so deep that he it was who sacrificed his 
life first on the altar of American Liberty. 

General Gage, the English commander, had taken 
possession of Boston. Under the British flag gaily 

Negro Race in America. 


62 A School History of the 

dressed soldiers marched the streets of Boston as 
through a conquered city; their every act was an 
insult to the inhabitants. Finally, on March 5, 
1770, Crispus Attucks, at the head of a crowd of 
citizens, resolved no longer to be insulted, and 
determining to resist any invasion of their rights as 
citizens, a fight soon ensued on the street. The 
troops were ordered to fire on the " mob," and 
Attucks fell, the first one, with three others, Cald- 
well, Gray, and Maverick. The town bell was 
rung, the alarm given and citizens from the country 
ran into Boston, where the greatest excitement 

The Burial of Attucks, the only unknown dead, 
was from Faneuil Hall. The funeral procession 
was enormous, and many of the best citizens of 
Boston readily followed this former slave and 
unknown hero to an honored grave. Many orators 
spoke in the highest terms of Crispus Attucks. A 
verse mentioning him reads thus : 

" Long as in freedom's cause the wise contend, 
Dear to your country shall your fame extend ; 
While to the world the lettered stone shall tell 
Where Caldwell, Attucks, Gray and Maverick fell." 

Negro Race in America. 



Bunker Hill was the scene of a brave deed by a 
Negro soldier. Major Pitcairn was commander of 
the British forces there. The battle was fierce; 
victory seemed sure to the Hnglish, when Pitcairn 
mounted an eminence, shouting triumphantly, 
"The day is ours!" At this moment the Amer- 
icans stood as if dumfounded, when- suddenly, with 
the leap of a tiger, there rushed forth Peter Salem, 
who fired directly at the officer's breast and killed 
him. Salem was said to have been a slave, of 
Framiugham, Massachusetts. Gen. Warren, who 
was killed in this battle, greatly eulogized Crispus 
Attucks for his bravery in Boston, and had he not 
been stricken down so soon, Peter Salem would 

64 A School History of the 

doubtless also have received high encomiums from 
his eloquent lips. 

Five Thousand Negroes are said to have fought 
on the side of the colonies during the Revolution. 
Most of them were from the Northern colonies. 
There were, possibly, 50,000 Negroes enlisted 
on the side of Great Britain, and 30,000 of these 
were from Virginia. 


Primus Hall was body servant of Col. Picker- 
ing in Massachusetts. Gen. Washington was quite 
intimate with the Colonel and paid him many 
visits. On one occasion Washington continued his 
visit till a late hour, and being assured by Primus 
that there were blankets enough to accommodate 
him, he resolved to spend the night in the Colonel's 
quarters. Accordingly, two beds of staw were made 
down and Washington and Col. Pickering retired, 
leaving Primus engaged about the tent. Late in the 
night Gen. Washington awoke, and seeing Primus 
sitting on a box nodding, rose up in his bed and said : 
" Primus, what did you mean by saying that you 
had blankets enough ? Have you given up your 
blanket and straw to me, that I may sleep comfort- 
able while you are obliged to sit through the night?" 

Negro Race in America. 65 

"It's nothing," said Primus; "don't trouble your- 
self about me, General, but go to sleep again. No 
matter about me ; I sleep very good." "But it is 
matter; it is matter," replied Washington, earn- 
estly. "I cannot do it, Primus. If either is to sit 
up, I will. But I think there is no need of either 
sitting up. The blanket is wide enough for two. 
Come and lie down here with me." " O, no, 
General," said Primus; "let me sit here; I'll do 
very well on the box." Washington said, " I say 
come and lie down here! There is room for both, 
and I insist upon it;" and as he spoke he threw up 
the blanket and moved to one side of the straw. 
Primus hesitated, but Washington continuing to 
insist, Primus finally prepared himself and laid down 
by Washington, and on the same straw, and under 
the same blanket, where the General and the Negro 
servant slept till morning. 

Washington is said to have been out walking one 
day in company with some distinguished gentle- 
men, and during the walk he met an old colored 
man who very politely tipped his hat and spoke to 
the General. Washington in turn took off his hat 
to the colored man, on seeing which one of the 
company in a jesting manner inquired of the Gen- 
eral if he usually took off his hat to Negroes. 
W T hereupon Washington replied: "Politeness is 


A School History of the 

cheap, and I never allow any one to be more polite 
to'me than I to him." 



§[ Judge Story gives an account of a colored artil- 
leryman who was in charge of a cannon with a white 
soldier at Bunker Hill. He had one arm so badly 
wounded he could not use it. He suggested to the 
white soldier that he change side„s so as to use the 
other arm. He did this, and while thus laboring 
under pain and loss of blood a shot came which 
killed him. 

Prince appears in the attempt to capture 

General Prescott of the Royal army stationed at 
Newport, R. I. General Lee of the American 
forces was held as a prisoner by the British, and it 

Negro Race in America. 67 

was designed to capture Prescott so as to be able to 
give him in exchange for Lee. Colonel Barton 
planned the scheme, and set out to Prescott's sleep- 
ing apartments in the night. Prince followed the 
lead of Colonel Barton to the door. There the sen- 
tinel was seized with his bayonet at the Colonel's 
breast, and ordered to be silent on pain of death, 
when Prince came forward and with two strokes at 
the door with his head it came open. Prescott was 
seized by Prince while in bed and made a prisoner. 
Colonel Barton was presented an elegant sword for 
this brave exploit which Prince achieved. 

Prince Whipple appears, as a body-guard, on the 
picture entitled "Washington Crossing the Dela- 


New London, Connecticut, was taken by the Brit- 
ish under command of Arnold, the traitor, in 1781. 
The American troops retreated to Fort Groton, where 
the American commander Ledyard was in command. 
The British came up and overcame the Americans 
after a bold resistance. The British officer vainly 
strode into the ramparts and said, " Who commands 
this fort?" Ledyard replied, "I once did; you do 
now," handing the Briton his sword at the same 
Lime, which he took and ran through Ledyard up to 

68 A School History of the 

the hilt. L. Latham, a Negro slave, stood near 
the American. Scarcely had the British officer's 
hand left the murderous hilt when Latham stove 
him through with his bayonet. The enemy rushed 
on him, and after a most daring fight he fell, not 
till pierced by thirty-three bayonets. L. Latham 
had been left at home by his master to care for the 
stock when the latter left to help to defend the fort ; 
but as soon as he could unhitch his team he too 
made haste to the scene of the fray, and the above 
bold deed shows how deeply he felt moved to give 
his life in defence of his country. 

John Freeman pinned Major Montgomery to the 
ground while he was being lifted upon the walls of 
Fort Griswold. 

Samuel Charlton was in the battle of Monmouth 
and several others. Washington complimented him 
for his bravery. He returned to his master in New 
Jersey after the war, and at his master's death 
Charlton, with the other slaves, was set free and 
given a pension during his life. 

James Armistead acted as scout for LaFayette in 
the Virginia campaign. He returned to his master 
after the surrender of Cornwallis and was set free 
by a special act of the Virginia Legislature. 

Negro Soldiers in the North enlisted with the 
colonies so that they might thus get their freedom 

Negro Race in America. 69 

from their Northern masters, while Negro soldiers 
in the South enlisted with the British, who promised 
freedom to all who would join their ranks. 

Did the Negro Soldiers get their freedom after the 
war of the Revolution was over ? We may say 
yes, so far as the Northern colonies are concerned, 
but not without much opposition in the courts and 
legislatures. Virginia also passed an act in 1783 
emancipating the slaves who had fought in the 
Revolution. Many individual slaves were eman- 
cipated by special acts of the legislatures for their 
courage and bravery. 

George Washington set his slaves free by his will, 
and many slave-owners did the same. 

The slaves who joined the British army were 
subjected to all sorts of horrors. Thousands died 
with small-pox and other contagious diseases. A 
great number were sent to the West Indies in 
exchange "for rum, sugar, coffee and fruit." 


7 LaFayette, the brilliant young Frenchman, and 
Kosciusko, the generous Pole, volunteered their 
services in behalf of freedom for the Americans 
during the Revolution. They fought, though, for 
the freedom of all Americans. LaFayette said in 

jo A School History of the 

a letter to a Mr. Clarkson : " I would never have 
drawn rny sword in the cause of America, if I could 
have conceived that thereby I was founding a land 
of slavery." 

While Visiting America in 1825, he expressed a 
warm desire to see some of the many colored sol- 
diers whom he " remembered as participating with 
him in various skirmishes." He believed in free- 
dom to all men, and to put in practice his anti- 
slavery ideas he bought a plantation in French 
Guiana. There he collected all the " whips and 
other instruments of torture and punishment, 
and made a bonfire of them in the presence of the 
assembled slaves." 

He Gave One Day in each week to the slaves, and 
as soon as cue could earn enough he might pur- 
chase another day, and so on until he gained his 

Kosciusko Expressed great sorrow to learn that 
the colored men who served in the Revolution were 
not thereby to gain their freedom. He left $20,000 
in the hands of Thomas Jefferson, to be used in 
educating colored children. 

Negro Race in America. 71 


THE WAR OF 18 12. 

The War of the Revolution ended in 1781 at 
Yorktown. Many of the brave Negroes who shed 
their blood and helped to win America's liberty 
from England were, as soon as the war closed, 
put back into bondage. They were in the " Land 
of the Free," but themselves slaves. Other trou- 
bles arose very soon between England and Amer- 
ica. Bngland still kept standing armies in Amer- 
ica, and claimed the right to search American 
vessels for British sailors who had deserted. They 
often took off American seamen. 

One Negro and Two White sailors were taken 
from the American man-of-war " Chesapeake" after 
she had been fired upon. Canada gave arms to and 
incited the Indians in the Northwest against the 
Americans. Finally, in 18 12, war was declared 
during Madison's Administration. 

Negro Troops were very much needed, as the 
Americans had a very poor navy, and England 
having whipped the French was now ready to turn 
all her forces against America. 

A Call for Volunteers from the Union was issued, 
and many thousands of free Negroes answered the 

72 A School History of the 

call. The slaves were not allowed to enlist in the mili- 
tia. Gen. Jackson thus spoke to his colored troops: 

" To the Men of Color — Soldiers : From the shores 
of Mobile I collected you to arms. I invited you to 
share in the perils and to divide the glory with your 
white countrymen. I expected much from you, 
for I was not uninformed of those qualities which 
must render you so formidable to an invading foe. 
I knew that you could endure hunger and thirst 
and all the hardships of war. I knew that you 
loved the land of your nativity, and that, like our- 
selves, you had to defend all that is most dear to 
man. But yon have surpassed all my hopes. I have 
found in you, united to these qualities, that noble 
enthusiasm which impels to great deeds. 

"Soldiers, the President of the United States 
shall be informed of your conduct on the present 
occasion, and the voice of the Representatives of 
the American Nation shall applaud your valor as 
your General now praises your ardor. The enemy 
is near. His sails cover the lakes ; but the brave 
are united, and if he finds us contending among 
ourselves, it will be for the prize of valor, and fame, 
it's noblest reward." 

The Battle of New Orleans, we will remember, 
ended in defeat for the British. Over two thousand 
were lost to the British, while the American loss 

Negro Race in America. jt> 

was seven killed and six wounded. There were 
over four hundred Negroes, in this battle, and they 
occupied "no mean place and did no mean service." 
The British had a battalion of Negroes from the 
Island of San Domingo in this battle. The idea 
of fortifying the city with cotton is said to have been 
the suggestion of a slave who was a native African, 
and learned this mode of defence from the Arabs. 

Mr. D. Lee Child, in a letter to a friend, states 
that the famous cotton breast-works, recognized the 
world over as a stroke of genius on the- part of 
Gen. Jackson, was the suggestion of a colored man, 
a native African. He gives some data from a Por- 
tugese manuscript to prove that this mode of 
defence is in practice among the native Africans, 
who thus defend their wives and children against 
the Arabs. Gen. Jackson, of course, would be 
loath to admit that the suggestion came from a 
Negro, especially when the deed won extra laurels 
for himself. 


There seemed to be no discrimination against 
any class of citizens joining our navy; nor is there 
now. About one-fifth of the marines were Negroes. 
That they did valuable service is testified to by 

74 -A School History of the 

numerous commanders. Read what Commander 
Nathaniel Shaler of the "private armed" schooner 
"Governor Tompkins" says, in a letter dated — 

"At Sea, Jan. i, 1813. 

" My officers conducted themselves in a way that 
would have done honor to a more permanent ser- 
vice. * * * The name of one of my poor fel- 
lows who was killed ought to be registered in the 
book of fame, and remembered with reverence as 
long as bravery is a virtue. He was a black man 
by the name of John Johnson. A twenty -four 
pound shot struck him in the hip and took away 
all the lower part of his body. In this state the 
poor, brave fellow lay on the deck, and several times 
exclaimed to his shipmates, ' Fire away, my boys; 
no haul a color down ! ' The other was a black 
man by the name of John Davis, and was struck in 
much the same way. He fell near me, and'several 
times requested 4o be thrown overboard, saying he 
was only in the way of others. While America 
has such tars, she has little to fear from the tyrants 
of the ocean." 

Captain Perry had command of the American 
fleet on Lake Erie. He objected to recruits Isent 
him, and described them in a letter to Commodore 
Chauncey as "a motley set — blacks, soldiers and 

Negro Race in America. 75 

boys." Commodore Chauncey replied: "I regret 
that you are not pleased with the men sent you. 
* * * I have yet to learn that the color of the 
skin, or the cut and trimmings of the coat, can 
affect a man's qualifications or usefulness. I have 
fifty blacks on board this ship, and many of them 
are among my best men." 

Usher Parsons, Surgeon of the "Java," under 
Comodore Perry, wrote that .the whites and blacks 
of his ship messed together, and there seemed to 
be no prejudice. 

The End of the War of 1812 meant victory for 
America, and the Negro had scored a telling point 
in behalf of his recognition as an American citi- 
zen. But still many were in slavery. 

Major Jeffreys, a "regular," during the engage- 
ment of Major-General Andrew Jackson at Mobile, 
mounted a horse and rallied the retreating troops 
to victory against the British, when the white com- 
manders were forced to retire and defeat seemed 
certain. Gen. Jackson gave him the title of Major, 
which he bore till his death in Nashville, Tenn. 
He was much respected by all classes. On one 
occasion a white ruffian insulted him. Words 
ensued, and Major Jeffreys was forced to strike the 
white man in self-defence. For this, at the age of 
seventy years, this veteran, who had won a victory 

J 6 A School History of the 

for his country on the battle-field, was ordered to 
be given " nine and thirty lashes with a rawhide." 
He did not recover from the effects of this treat- 
ment, and soon died of a broken heart. 

Jordon Noble was among the colored veterans of 
the War of 1812. For a long time after the war 
he lived in New Orleans, where he was brought 
out on every great occasion to give enthusiasm. 
Jordon Noble's name appearing in connection with 
any great occasion was sufficient guarantee of 
a tremendous crowd. He was drummer to the 
First Regiment Louisiana Volunteers in the Mex- 
ican War of 1846, and led the attack against the 
British in the Battle of New Orleans under Jack- 
son [in 1814. He was known as the "matchless 

Negro Race in America. 77 



The War of 1S12 was now over. America 
remained at peace with other nations about thirty- 
two years when the Mexican war broke out in 1S46. 
During this interval, a war of words between 
Americans themselves was waged ; and there were 
heroes in this contest, many of them Negroes and 
former slaves, and some of them women, who merit 
equal rank with the brave heroes of former battles. 

The Abolitionists who were opposed to slavery, 
furnished many brave hearts and strong minds 
from their ranks. Their work began very early in 
the history of the colonies; it continued with slow 
growth for awhile, but nevertheless certain and 
effectual. The Quakers of Pennsylvania were fore- 
most in the work of abolition. They set nearly 
all their slaves free. Anti-slavery societies were 
formed in nearly all the Northern States. 

Benjamin Lundy is mentioned as the earliest 
leader of the Abolitionists. He published a paper 
called The Genius of Universal Emancipation. 
He visited nineteen States of the Union, travelled 
upwards of five thousand miles on foot, and more 

78 A School History of the 

than twenty thousand in other ways, and held more 
than two hundred public meetings. Lundy's paper 
was not regarded as very dangerous to the insti- 
tution of slavery ; but the Journal of the Times, 
published first at Bennington, Vermont, in support 
of J. Q. Adams for the presidency, became the 
inveterate foe to slavery under the editorship of 
William Lloyd Garrison, who was mobbed in the 
streets of Boston, and imprisoned for libel in the 
city of Baltimore for denouncing the crew of the 
ship " Francis Todd," on board of which were 
many ill-treated slaves bound for the slave marts 
of New Orleans. Garrison and Lundy united in 
getting out The Genius of Universal Emancipa- 
tion at Baltimore. 

Arthur Tappan, before this, paid Garrison's fine, 
and the enemy to slavery commenced his war with 
more vigor and zeal than before. In 1831 The 
Liberator was first published by Garrison, and, as 
was his desire, it continued till "every slave in 
America was free." 

A "Colored Man," James Forten, sent $50 among 
the first twenty-five subscriptions that came to The 
Liberator. Garrison thought it his duty to obey 
God rather than man, and he denounced the Con- 
stitution of the United States as being a "Cove- 
nant with death and an agreement with hell," 
because he held that it supported slavery. 

Negro Race in America. 79 

The National Anti-slavery Convention, white, was 
held in 1836: they had delegates from ten States, 
and 1,006 anti-slavery societies existed in the dif- 
ferent States. 

The Free Colored People of the North also held 
an anti-slavery convention in 1831. Their first 
work was to get recognition from the white organ- 
izations, who shut them out. The "Anti-slavery 
Free Women of America" organized in 1837 in 
New York. Mary S. Parker was President, Ange- 
lina E. Grimkie, Secretary. 

Miss Sarah Forten addressed the following verses 
to lifer white sisters in behalf of co-operation : 

"We are thy sisters. God has truly said, 
That of one blood all nations He has made. 
O Christian woman ! in a Christian laud, 
Canst thou unblushing read this great command ? 
Suffer the wrongs which wring our inmost heart, 
To draw one throb of pity on thy part? 
Our skins may differ, but from thee we claim 
A sister's privilege and a sister's name." 

Soon After This the free Negroes of the North acted 
together with the whites in the great fight against 
slavery. Negro orators told in eloquent style the 
sad story of the bondage of their race. 

Frederick Douglass, once a slave in Maryland, 
electrified the whole country with his eloquence. 

80 A School History of the 

He stood then, and now, as a living, breathing, 
convincing argument against the claim that the 
Negro's intellectual capacities fit him only for 
slavery. Mr. Douglass visited Europe and was 
received there with an ovation, for the cause of 
the slave had leaped across the Atlantic and touched 
a sympathetic chord in many a British heart. 

Many Books were written by Negroes, as well as 
whites. Frederick Douglass wrote, "My Bondage 
and My Freedom"; Bishop Loguen, " As a Slave 
and as a Freeman"; other works by Rev. Samuel 
R. Ward, Rev. Austin Stewart, Solomon Northorp, 
Dr. Win. Wells Brown, and others. Wm. Whip- 
per edited an Abolition paper, known as the National 

Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Mrs. Harriet Beecher 
Stowe, was the most read, and the most effectual 
work against slavery. 

Negro Race in America. 81 



The Republic of Liberia was founded in 1816 by 
the American Colonization Society as a place of 
refuge and safety to the colored people of America 
who, before the abolition of slavery in the various 
States, had been set free by their masters; or, 
through industry, had purchased their liberty them- 
selves. It is located on the West Coast of Africa, 
in South Sierra Leone, and is very productive of 
rice, coffee, indigo, peanuts, arrowroot, sugar, 
pepper, logwood, palm oil and cotton. Gold and 
other minerals are found in considerable quantities. 
The climate seems ill adapted to the American 

Mr. Jehudi Ashmun was the pioneer in planting 
the colony, assisted by Lott Carey. The natives 
resisted the settlers, and for the first six years there 
were continual attempts to drive them out. Mr. 
Ashmun's health finally failed and he was com- 
pelled to leave the colony, now numbering 1,200 
free Americans, to themselves in this new and 
wild land. They shed bitter tears on his depar- 
ture, some clinging even to his garments. But 

82 A School History of the 


left to themselves, the Negroes did not lose all 
hope. They set about to found a government sim- 
ilar to that of the United States. They elected 
their first president, Roberts, organized a cabinet, 
established schools, made labor obligatory, and 
their flag is now recognized by the nations of 
Europe and the United States. 

Its Population is now over 20,000 Negroes who 
went from America, or their descendants. The 
influence of Liberia is exercised over a million 
people along the West Coast of Africa. They speak 
English, and from them many tribes have learned 
our language and the arts of civilization. The 
United States has sent four Ministers to represent 
her at Monrovia, the Liberian capital, viz., from 
North Carolina, Messrs. J. H. Smythe, Moses A. 
Hopkins and E. E. Smith; from New York, Henry 
H. Garnet. The exports of Liberia aggregate about 
three-quarters of a million dollars annually. 

Success has thus far attended the country, though 
the climate, atmosphere, and the surroundings are 
most unfavorable and unstimulating. The fact 
that these colored people have succeeded, shows 
what the race can do under favorable circumstances. 

Negro Race in America. 83 



This great man is well known to the world. He is 
a conspicuons representative of the talents and 
capabilities possessed by the colored race. Born a 
slave on a plantation in Maryland, he has grad- 
ually, by industry and patient labor, worked him- 
self to the highest rank of honor, both in America 
and Europe. When Frederick Douglass speaks the 
world listens. He is as much quoted as any liv- 
ing American statesman. 

The first ten years of Mr. Douglass' youth were 
spent on one of the many plantations of a rich 
planter named Lloyd, in the State of Maryland. 
He was separated from his mother, who only saw 
him at long intervals. He, with the other little 
slave boys, grew up from almost infancy in their 
tow shirts, with their ash-cake rations and fre- 
quent beatings, given them by a certain "old Aunt 
Kate," who had charge of the children on the plan- 
tation. In this wild way, young Fred was left to 
grow up as best he could among the rough farm 
hands and without a mother's care. He describes 
his mother to have been a noble-looking woman, 

8 4 

A School History of the 

jtm^, • 


Negro Race in America. 85 

with the deepest of motherly affection and very fond 
of him, as shown by her running dangerous risks 
and walking long miles to see him. 

At the age often years he was sent by his "Old 
Master " to live with his young mistress, in Balti- 
more, who was connected with the Lloyd family. 
This young lady became attached to him, and 
tanght him to read. He learned to rer.d the Bible 
and made such rapid progress that the young lady, 
feeling very proud of her work, told her husband. 
When he found it out he forbade her teaching him 
any further, saying it was unlawful, "could only 
lead to mischief," and, "if }- T ou give a nigger an 
inch he will take an ell." Nevertheless, Fred soon 
became proficient in reading, and he learned to 
write by the models in his 3'oung master's copy- 
book. He bought a book called the Columbian 
Orator, in which he found speeches from Sheridan, 
Lord Chatham, William Pitt and Fox. These he 
read many times and gained much mental help from 

Finally, young Fred, whose mind now was 
enlightened, became so dissatisfied with his posi- 
tion as a slave that he grew morose and gloomy. 
His young mistress chided him for this conduct, 
and it finally became necessary to hire him out. 
He soon found a good opportunity and ran away 

86 A School Histo7y of the 

to New Bedford, Mass. Here he found employment 
and spent his leisure time in study. He read Scott's 
"Lady of the Lake," and there came across the name 
of Douglass, which he for the first time assumed. 
He attended church; was surprised to see the col- 
ored people transacting their own business. Some 
of the first money he earned in New Bedford was 
invested in a subscription to The Liberator. He 
was not long in coming to the front. His story of 
escape from slavery was told in the various 
churches, and the year 1841 found him on the 
stage before an anti-slavery convention at Nan- 
tucket. A tremendous crowd was present, and the 
wildest enthusiasm prevailed. Mr. William Lloyd 
Garrison followed Mr. Douglass with a strong 
speech for the abolition of slavery. Mr. Douglass' 
career thus begun, continued; he spoke often and 
mightily for the cause of freedom. He became 
the leading orator of the time, and his presence 
was sufficient to draw a crowd in the bitterest pro- 
slavery community. 

Since freedom, Mr. Douglass has held several 
important positions under the National Govern- 
ment. He was once Recorder of Deeds in the 
District of Columbia, and is now Minister to the 
Haytian Republic. 

Negro Race in America. 87 



Nathaniel Turner is well remembered by many 
of the older people of Southampton, Virginia, as 
being the leader of the famous " Nat Turner Insur- 
rection" of that county. He was an unusually 
bright child, having learned. to read and write with 
such skill and rapidity that his own people and the 
neighbors regarded him as a prodigy. It is said 
that his mother predicted that he would be a prophet 
in his presence one day, and he remembered her pre- 
diction till he grew older. Turner devoted him- 
self to the study of the Scriptures and the condi- 
tion of his people. He believed his lot was to set 
them free. He had visions of white and black 
spirits fighting in battle. He imagined a voice 
spoke thus to him in the vision: "Such is your 
luck ; such yon are called to see, and let it come 
rough or smooth you must bear it." He thought 
while laboring in the fields "he discovered drops of 
blood on the corn, as though it were dew from 
heaven," and saw on the leaves of the trees pic- 
tures of men written in blood. 

88 A School History of the 

A Plan of Insurrection was devised in the month 
of February, 183 1. Nat, together with four of 
his friends, Sam Edwards, Henry Porter, Nelson 
Williams and Hark Travis, held a council of war, 
as it were, in some lonely, desolate spot in the woods, 
where they discussed the project of freeing the 
slaves. Nat said in his speech that his purpose 
was not to shed blood wantonly ; but in order to 
arouse his brethren he believed it necessary to kill 
such of the whites as would be most likely to give 
them trouble. He, like John Brown, expected his 
slave brethren to join him. 

The Fatal Stroke was given in the month of 
August, 183 1. The first house visited was that of 
a Mr. Joseph Travis. While on the way a slave 
from this plantation joined Nat's party. He was 
a giant of a man, athletic, quick, and best man on 
the muscle in the county, and was known as " Will." 
The slaves were armed with axes and knives, and 
killed indiscriminately, young and old, fifty-seven 
white persons before they were killed or captured. 

Several Artillery Companies from Richmond, 
seventy miles off, Petersburg, Norfolk and Ports- 
mouth, with one cavalry company, were ordered 
out to take Nat and his followers. In a hand-to- 
hand struggle Will fell. His last words were 
"Bury my axe with me." Nat escaped with 

Negro Race in America. 89 

some others to the swamps where he eluded the 
whites for nearly three months. After surrender- 
ing he was brought into court and answered Not 
Guilty to the inquiry of the Judge. The trial was 
Sfone through with. Nat was convicted and con- 
demned to die on the gallows. He received the 
sentence with total indifference, but made a proph- 
ecy that on the day of his execution unusual occur- 
rences would appear in the heavens; the sun would 
be darkened and immense clouds would appear, and 
threatening lightning. Many of the people believed 
it. The Sheriff could find no one willing to cut the 
rope, but a drunken sot, crazed by liquor, did the 
act for pay. The day of execution, as Nat had 
prophesied, was one of stormy and gloomy aspect, 
with terrible thunder, rain and lightning. Nat 
kept up his courage to the last, and, his neck in the 
noose, not a muscle quivered or a groan was uttered. 
He was undoubtedly a wonderful character. Know- 
ing, as he did, the risk he ran, what an immense 
courage he must have had to have undertaken his 
bold adventure. He was thus spoken of by a Mr. 
Gray, who interviewed him: "It has been said that 
he was ignorant and cowardly,, and his purpose was 
to murder and rob. It is notorious that he was 
never known to have a dollar in his life, to swear 
an oath, or drink a drop of spirits. He can read 
and write, and for natural intelligence and quick- 

90 A School History ■ of the 

ness of apprehension is surpassed by few men I 
have ever seen."* 

Avery Watkins, a colored preacher, of Rocking- 
ham, North Carolina, and, grandfather of Rev. 
R. H. W. Leak, a prominent minister in the 
A. M. E- Conference of North Carolina, is said 
to have been hanged in Rockingham, North 
Carolina, charged with endorsing the Nat. Turner 
Insurrection, because in a private conversation with 
his family he related to them something of what 
Nat. Turner was doing in Southampton, where he 
had lately been on a visit to his grandmother. 
According to the account of Mr. W. H. Quick, he 
was taken by a mob at a camp-meeting, and tried 
and hung in the same month in the year 1831. 

Madison Washington was the" name of a brave 
slave who. being a part of a cargo of 135 slaves 
en-route to New Orleans from Virginia, when the 
boat was eight days out organized the slaves, made 
an onslaught on the officers, took possession of the 
boat and carried it to Nassau, an Bnglish posses- 
sion, where England gave them protection; refus- 

*One author says: "Upwards of one hundred slaves were slaughtered in the 
Southampton Tragedy, many of them in cold blood while walking in the streets — 
and about sixty white persons. Some of the alleged conspirators had their" noses 
and ears cut off, the flesh of their cheeks cut out, their jaws broken asunder, 
and in that condition they were set up as marks to be shot at. The whites burnt 
one with red-hot irons, cut off his ears and nose, stabbed him, cut his,hamstrings, 
stuck him like a hog, and at last cut off his head and spiked it to'the whipping 

Negro Race in America. 91 

ingto surrender them as " murderers and mutineers 
to perish on Southern gibbets." 

The Kindness of Washington, in dressing the Cap- 
tain's wounds and protecting aud caring for his wife 
and children, marked him as a most magnanimous 
foe. Only one white man of the twelve command- 
ing the ship was killed. He having fired into the 
slaves came at them with a spike, thereupon he was 
stabbed by one of Washington's men who wrenched 
a bowie knife from the hands of the Captain. 
Washington's only wish was, not blood, but free- 
dom, which he gained. 


The Famous Dismal Swamp, some fifty miles long, 
extending from Norfolk, Virginia, into North Caro- 
lina, was a noted rendezvous for runaway slaves 
before the civil war. It is estimated that the slave 
property in this swamp was worth a million and a 
half dollars. They carried on a secret trade with 
the Virginia merchants, but any merchant caught 
fostering these people by trading with them was 
punished severely by law. The traders who were 
pursued found shelter among the maroons of the 
swamp. The chivalry of the Old Dominion never 
dared venture into this colony, and blood-hounds 

92 A School History of the 

sent in came out no more. The Dismal Swamp 
colony continued from generation to generation, 
defying and outwitting the slave-owners right in 
the midst of one of the strongest slave-holding 
communities in the South. 

"the amistad ca'ptives." 

Fifty-four Africans on board the Spanish slave 
schooner "Amistad," under Captain Ramon Ferrer, 
on June 28, 1839, sailed from Havana, Cuba, for 
Porto Principe, another place on the island of 
Cuba, about three hundred miles distant from 
Havana. The fifty-four slaves were just from 
Lemboko, their native country in Africa. Joseph 
Cinquez, son of an African prince, was among 
them. He was shrewd, brave and intelligent. He 
looked on with disgust at the cruel treatment given 
him and his fellow-slaves, some being " chained 
down between the decks — space not more than four 
feet — by their wrists and ankles ; forced to eat rice, 
sick or well, and whipped upon the slightest provo- 
cation." Cinquez witnessed the brutality as long 
as his noble nature would allow, and when they 
were about five nights out from Havana, he chose 
a company of confederates from among his breth- 
ren and made an assault on the Captain of the 

Negro Race in America. 93 

boat, and took him and his crew prisoners. Two 
sailors struck out for land when they found their 
Captain and cook in chains, and left the boat in full 
possession of the Negroes. The man at the helm 
(Montes) was ordered to steer direct for Africa, 
under pain of death. This he did by day, but at 
night would make towards the coast of America. 
Finally, after continual wandering, the vessel was 
cited off the coast of the United States in August. 
All the ports were notified, and a number of rev- 
enue cutters were dispatched after her. She was 
finally captured on the 26th of August, 1839, by 
Lieut. Gidney of the United States Navy, and the 
"Amistad" and her fifty-four Africans were lauded 
in New London, Connecticut. The two Spaniards 
found on board the vessel were examined by the 
United States officials, and the whole number of 
Africans were bound over to await trial as pirates. 
They being unable to give bond of course went. to 
prison, but not to stay long. Public sentiment 
was everywhere aroused in their favor. The anti- 
slavery friends organized schools among them; 
the Africans learned rapidly and soon told all the 
details of the capture of the "Amistad" in English 
from their own lips without an interpreter. The 
trial occupied several months, during which they 
busied themselves in cultivating a garden of fifteen 
acres in a most skillful and intelligent manner. 

94 A School History of the 

Their grievances were told all over America and 
aroused the sympathies of the people. Finally, the 
court decided that the "Amistad captives" were 
not slaves, but freemen. A thrill of joy passed 
through many an American heart, as well as their 
own. When the news of this decision spread abroad 
subscriptions began to come in. Mr. Lewis Tappan 
took a lively interest in the Africans, and in one 
way and another soon got together enough money 
to send them home to Africa, where they so much 
wanted to go. "If 'Merica men offered me as 
much gold as fill this cap," said one, "and give me 
houses, land, and everything, so dat I stay in this 
country, I say No! No!! I want to see my father, 
my mother, my brother, my sister." One said, 
"We owe everything to God; he keeps us alive, 
and makes us free. When we go home to Mendi, 
we tell our brethren about God, Jesus Christ and 
Heaven." One was asked, if he was again cap- 
tured and about to be sold into slavery, would he 
murder the captain and cook of another vessel, and 
if he wouldn't pray for rather than kill them? 
Cinquez heard it and replied, shaking his head, 
"Yes; I would pray for 'em and kill 'em too." 

These people were sent to Sierra Leone in Africa 
in company with five sainted missionaries. Great 
Britain sent them from Sierra Leone to their homes, 
and thus their efforts for freedom were successful. 

Negro Race in America. 95 



Slavery or No Slavery was the question now 
before the American people. Millions of tracts, 
pamphlets, circulars and newspapers, besides the 
ministers and orators of the North, were now mak- 
ing sentiment against slavery. The people of the 
North were aroused. 

The Census of 1850 gave a population of three 
and one-half million slaves in America, and they 
lived in the States of Delaware, New Jersey, Mary- 
land, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, 
Texas, Arkansas, Utah Territory, Kentucky, 
Missouri and Tennessee. Soon after this New 
Jersey, Delaware and Maryland freed their slaves. 

The Political Parties were forced to take up the 
slavery question. The politicians were wily, 
and yielded to both sides for policy's sake. The 
South opposed every legislative act that favored 
the abolition of slavery. The great Daniel Web- 
ster hesitated to take a decided stand either way, 
and in 1858 Charles Sumner, a staunch anti-slavery 
man, came to the Senate from Massachusetts in 

96 A School History of the 

Webster's place. Mr. Sumner said more and did 
more for the freedom of the slave than any of the 
great statesmen of his time. He offered no com- 
promise, and asked only for liberty to the slaves. 

The Fugitive Slave Law allowed masters to cap- 
ture their slaves in any State of the Union. Hence 
arose the underground railroad, which was a secret 
system for transporting runaway slaves into Canada. 
Some slaves were sent in boxes, and some carried 
in the night from one person to another until they 
reached the Canadian line. A great many runaway 
slaves made good their escape through this system.* 

New States coming into the Union caused great 
discussion as to whether they should come in as 
free States or slave States. Civil war broke out in 
Kansas between the inhabitants of that Territory 
who wanted, and those who did not want, slaves. 
The anti-slavery people were led by John Brown, 
afterwards the leader in an attempt to capture the 
arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, and arm the 
slaves. He was hung as an insurrectionist. 

Opposition in the North to the Abolitionists was 
manifested by the commercial people, who saw 
nothing in the whole question but the dollars and 
cents which they hoped to make out of the slave's 

*See Underground Railroad, by Wm. Still. 

Negro Race in America. 97 

products of cotton, tobacco, sugar and rice. But 
the agitation continued. 

Abraham Lincoln, endorsed by the anti-slavery 
people, was proposed as the Republican candidate 
for President in i860, whereupon South Carolina 
declared if Lincoln was elected she would secede 
from the Union. Lincoln was elected and accord- 
ingly South Carolina seceded, and was soon fol- 
lowed by the other slave-holding States. 

98 A School History of the 




William and Hllen Craft were slaves in the State 
of Georgia. Their hearts yearned for freedom. 
Their minds were at once set to work to formu- 
late some plan of escape. It was at last settled. 
Ellen being very fair, while William was dark, was 
to pass for a young invalid planter, William being 
her slave and servant. Not being able to write, 
and without beard, she put her hand into a sling 
and tied her face up ; after putting on male attire 
they were ready to start out. William attended to 
all the business, such as registering at the hotels 
and buying tickets. They stopped at a first-class 
hotel in Charleston, and also in Richmond, finally 
reaching Philadelphia safely. Hllen gave up her 
male attire, untied her face, released her arm from 
the sling and her speech came to her. They put 
themselves under the care of the Abolitionists, were 
sent to Boston, but after the passage of the Fugi- 
tive Slave Bill attempts were made to capture and 
put them back into slavery again. They were at 
last sent to England, where they remained for 
nearly twenty years ; then they returned and made 
their home in Savannah, Georgia, where, we learn, 
they are still living. 

Negro Race in America. 99 



In the fifteen slave States there were 3,950,000 
slaves in i860, and 251,000 free colored people. 
Nearly 3,000,000 of the slaves were in the rural 
districts of the South ; and the slave products of 
cotton, tobacco, rice, sugarcane, hemp and molasses 
amounted to about $136,505,435. These products, 
made by slave labor, formed the basis of Southern 
prosperity. The war of the rebellion, which com- 
menced in the following 3^ear, was destined to shake 
the very foundation of Southern civilization. From 
a people unaccustomed to hard work, it was to take 
away those who worked for them and those same 
people who were to be taken away were to be 
regaled in the priceless boon of citizenship. Let 
us now study some of the efforts of Negroes in 
helping to achieve this citizenship, after which we 
shall see how well they deserved to be citizens. 

ioo A School History of the 




The Secession of South Carolina and the other 
Southern States was the signal for war. True to 
its declaration to do so this State seceded when 
Lincoln was elected in 1861. Fort Sumter was 
fired on by the Confederates and captured. The 
North was divided on the question of slavery, and 
the Government at Washington was slow in mak- 
ing any efforts to stop the rebellion. A few troops 
were sent into the field with the hope of frighten- 
ing the South. The battle of Bull Run was fought, 
and disgracefully lost to the Union. It took some 
losses and failures to make the North believe the 
South would fight. Finally, after the defeat at Bull 

Lincoln Issued a Proclamation for 75,000 volun- 
teers. But the motto was, no blacks need apply. 
There was great prejudice in the North against the 
Negro's enlisting to fight for his freedom, and the 
President was also opposed to it. 

The Confederates were already forming Negro 

Negro Race in America. 101 

companies for the defence of Richmond and build- 
ing fortifications. The third and fourth regiments 
of Georgia showed one Negro company as they 
passed through Augusta en route to Virginia. Free 
Negroes enlisted on the Confederate side at New 
Orleans and Memphis. They were highly spoken 
of by the Southern papers. But the North seemed 
to think still that to put the Negro in the Union 
blue would disgrace that uniform. 

General Hunter, stationed at Port Royal, South 
Carolina, did not agree with Congress nor the Presi- 
dent. When he succeeded General Sherman, 
instructions from the Secretary of War to "accept 
the services of all loyal persons " were handed him ; 
and he seized this opportunity (there being nothing 
said about Negroes) to enlist a Negro regiment of 
fugitive slaves. His conduct was inquired into by 
Mr. Wickliffe, a Congressman from Kentucky, and 
a resolution of censure was offered. 

Major-General Hunter replied to the enquiry made 
in Congress as to his enlisting slaves, that the 
Negroes seemed to be the only loyal people in that 
locality, and they were anxious to fight for their 
freedom, and gave every evidence of making u inval- 
uable auxiliaries." They knew the country and 
were accustomed to the climate. 

102 A School History of the 

General Phelps, stationed in Louisiana about this 
time, was making a bold fight for the enlistment of 
Negroes in and around New Orleans. He was 
opposed by Gen. Benj. F. Butler, who protested 
so strongly against it that finally General Phelps 
was forced to resign and return to his home in 
Vermont. The sentiment of the Northern army 
seemed to have a conspicuous leaning toward admit- 
ting the right of the South to hold slaves. General 
Butler refused the runaway slaves quarters in his 
headquarters. McClellan, a reeking failure as a 
commander, said, with others, that if he thought he 
was fighting to free the "niggers" he would sheath 
his sword. He soon failed in the Virginia cam- 
paign and was forced to resign. 

Mr. Stevens proposed a bill in Congress author- 
izing the President to " raise and equip 150,000 sol- 
diers of African descent." Meanwhile Col. Thomas 
W. Higginson and Col. Montgomery with a com- 
pany of Negro troops were ascending the St. John 
River in Florida, where he captured Jacksonville, 
which had been abandoned by white Union troops. 
Among those who favored Mr. Stevens' measure 
were Horace Greeley and Edwin M. Stanton, who 
seemed to have been convinced of the worth of the 
colored troops from the testimony of such men as 
Phelps, Higginson, Hunter and Montgomery, who 

Negro Race in America. 103 

had already seen what Negro troops could accom- 

Public Sentiment was being aroused on the sub- 
ject. The newspapers discussed the matter. The 
New York Tribune said: "Drunkenness, the bane 
of our army, does not exist among the black troops." 
"Nor have I yet discovered the slightest ground of 
inferiority to white troops." Mr. Lincoln very 
soon changed his mind, Congress gave its consent 
and the order went forth to enlist Negroes in defence 
of the Union. 

The Right to Fight for what they thought would 
ultimately end in their freedom was hailed with 
shouts of joy wherever the tidings reached the 
Negroes. *' 

At Newbern, N. C, they made a great demonstra- 
tion. The enlisting places at New Orleans and 
other Southern cities then in the hands of the 
Federals, were the scenes of the wildest confusion 
in the mad rush of the colored people to register 
their names on the army records. 

A Difficulty arose in getting sufficient arms for 
all the colored troops ; and a further difficulty was 
to be met in selecting white officers who had the 
courage to brave public sentiment and take the 
command of Negro troops. Negro daring and 
excellency on the battle-field soon broke down these 

104 A School History of the 

flimsy weaknesses of the white officers, and the 
summer of 1863 found over 100,000 Negroes in the 
Union ranks, and over 50,000 armed and equipped 
on the fields of battle. 

Their Pay was seven dollars per month, with 
board and clothing. The whites received thirteen 
dollars per month with board and clothing. Thus 
the former slave went forth to meet his master on 
the battle-field, sometimes to capture, or be cap- 
tured; sometimes to fall side by side, one pierced 
with the Southern, the other with the Northern 


Two Proclamations were issued by Mr. Lincoln. 
The first, on the 22d of September, 1862, defined 
the issue of the war to be "for the object of prac- 
tically restoring the constitutional relation between 
the United States and each of the States and the 
people thereof." It offered, first, to pay the masters 
for their slaves and colonize them in America or 
Africa. Second, it proposed to free the slaves of 
those persons and States then engaged in actual 
rebellion. Third, it offered to pay from the Federal 
treasury loyal masters who had lost their slaves in 
and during the rebellion. 

Negro Race in America. 105 

The Second Proclamation was issued January 1, 
1863, and is the one we celebrate. This measure 
was urged upon Mr. Lincoln by the Abolitionists 
and those who wished the Negro free. It did not 
free all the slaves. Some counties were left out. 
Though the Abolitionists saw in the proclamation 
the consummation of their prayers and hopes, Mr. 
Lincoln and his Cabinet evidently regarded the 
proclamation as a war measure, very necessary 
under the circumstances, to shorten the war. The 
South would have surrendered in half the time, 
had not a large number of slaves remained on the 
plantations, raising supplies for the Confederate 
army, and supporting and protecting their masters' 

106 A School History of the 



Mr. Williams Says: "All history, ancient and 
modern, Pagan and Christian, justified the conduct 
of the Federal Government in the employment of 
slaves as soldiers. Greece had tried the experiment, 
and at the battle of Marathon there were two regi- 
ments composed of slaves. The beleagured city 
of Rome offered freedom to her slaves who would vol- 
unteer as soldiers, and at the battle of Cannae a reg- 
iment of Roman slaves made Hannibal's cohorts reel 
before their unequalled courage. Negro officers, as 
well as soldiers, had shared the perils and glories of 
the campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte ; and even the 
Royal Guard at the Court of Imperial France had 
been mounted with black soldiers. In two wars in 
North America Negro soldiers had followed the for- 
tunes of military life, and won the applause of white 
patriots on two continents. So, then, all history fur- 
nished a precedent for the guidance of the United 
States Government in the civil war of America." 

Just How Well the Negro Soldiers Behaved may 
be gathered from a description of 

Negro Race in America. 107 


Port Hudson, May 27, 1863. The Negro regi- 
ment under Colonel Nelson was assiged the difficult 
task of taking this fort, which seemed almost 
impregnable. It was situated on a high bluff over- 
looking the river in front. Around the sides and 
rear close under the bluff ran a bayou twelve feet 
deep and from fifteen to twenty feet wide. Look- 
ing out from openings in the embankment were 
the grim mouths of many deadly cannon. They 
were arranged so as to make a straight raking 
charge on the front of any approaching force, while 
a score and a half of heavy guns were to cut down 
the left and right wings with grape and canister. 

Having Marched all Night, the "Black Regiment" 
stacked arms at 5 A. M. One hour was given for 
rest and breakfast. Many, completely overcome by 
the enervating heat and dust, sank down "in their 
tracks " and slept. 

The Officers received their instructions at 5:30, 
and at 6 o'clock the bugle sounded. "Fall in!" 
was heard ringing out among the soldiers ; and the 
scene reminded one more of a holiday party than 
a march to death. The troops seemed anxious to 
fight. The white troops looked on with uneasiness, 
and doubts concerning the Negro's courage. The 

1 08 A School History of the 

Confederates in the fort ridiculed the idea that 
Negroes were to charge them. 

The Negro Regiment moved towards the fort. There 
was death-like silence save the tramp of soldiers 
and the tap of drum. "Forward; double-quick, 
march! " rang out along the line ; not a piece was 
fired. Now the rebel guns open on the left ; one 
shell kills twelve men. "Right about!" was the 
command ; the regiment wheeled to the right for 
about three hundred yards, then coolly and steadily 
faced the enemy again by companies. 

Six Deathly charges were thus made, when Col. 
Nelson reported to General Dwight his inability to 
take the fort because of the bayou being too deep 
for the men to wade. General Dwight replied : "I 
shall consider that he has accomplished nothing 
unless he takes those guns." The soldiers saw it 
was impossible, as well as Colonel Nelson, yet 
" again the order to charge" was obeyed with a 

Captain Andre Callioux commanded Company E 
in the next charge. He marched his colored 
brethren over the dead bodies of their comrades, 
crying, "Follow me!" and while flashing his sword 
within fifty yards of the belching Confederate 
guns, he was smitten down in front of his company 
by a shell. 

Negro Race in America. 109 

Color-Sergeant Anselmas Planciancois said to 
Col. Nelson before the fight : " Colonel, I will bring 
back these colors to yon in honor, or report to God 
the reason why." It was now between 11 and 12 
o'clock in the morning. The fight began at 7 A. m. 
The gallant Callioux was lying dead on the field. 
His men now charged almost in the month of the 
Confederate guns. Planciancois bore the flag in 
front. A shell strikes the staff and blows off half 
of the brave sergeant's head; he falls, wrapped in 
the folds of his nation's flag, his brains scattered 
amid them, but still his strong grip holds the staff, 
even in death, till 

Corporal Heath catches it up to bear it to the 
front again. Pierced by a musket ball, which split 
his head, he, too, falls upon the body of the brave 
Planciancois. Still another corporal lifts the flag 
and bears it through the fray. And thus the 
Negro troops, on almost their very first trial, 
silenced all clamors as to their bravery. Fort 
Hudson was not taken then, but the reason for 
defeat lay not in a lack of unrivalled daring and 
heroic courage on the part of the Negro troops. 
The loss was 37 killed and wounded, and missing, 

The New York Times says of this battle: "Gen. 
Dwight, at least, must have had the idea not only 

no A School History of the 

that they (Negro troops) were men, but something 
more than men from the terrific test to which he 
put their valor. The deeds of heroism performed 
by these men were such as the proudest white men 
might emulate. Their colors are literally bespat- 
tered with blood and brains. 

"The color sergeant of the ist Louisiana, on being 
mortally wounded, hugged the colors to his breast, 
when a struggle ensued between the two color 
corporals on each side of him as to w T ho should 
have the honor of bearing the sacred standard. 
One black lieutenant actually mounted the enemy's 
works four times." * * * "Although repulsed 
in an attempt, which — situated as things . were — 
was all but impossible, these regiments, though badly 
cut up, were still on hand, and burning with a passion 
ten times hotter from their fierce baptism of 

Gen. Banks wrote, concerning the " Black Regi- 
ment" at Port Hudson: "It gives me pleasure to 
report that they answered every expectation. Their 
conduct was heroic." The success of the Negro 
troops at Port Hudson rang in the halls of Con- 
gress, in the lecture-room, in the pulpit, in the 
newspapers; poets sang of it, and Northern orators 
vied with each other in eloquent pictures of the 

Negro Race in America. in 

scene of that great fight which settled the question 
as to the Negro's fitness for the army. 

Milliken's Bend, 6th of June, 1863. The Con- 
federates came up from Louisiana about 3,000 strong. 
They rested over night while the Federals were 
collecting at the temporary fort in the bend of the 
Mississippi. The Union men-of-war "Choctaw" 
and "Lexington" appeared, coming up the river 
before daylight, on the morning of the 6th of June, 
which was the time the Confederates made their 
first charge, yelling " No quarter to Negroes and 
their officers." The Negro troops were without 
training, being lately recruited, but they fought 
like veterans. The Confederates fell back under 
their heavy fire in front and charged the Union 
flanks. Upon this the Union troops found shelter 
from the gun-boats, and broadside after broadside 
made the Confederates hasten away. 

An Eye Witness' Description: " As before stated, 
the Confederates drove our force towards the gun- 
boats, taking colored men prisoners. This so 
enraged them that they rallied and charged the 
enemy more heroically and desperately than has 
been recorded during the war. It was a genuine 
bayonet charge, a hand-to-hand fight, that has 
never occurred to any extent during this pro- 
longed conflict. Upon both sides men were killed 

ii2- • A School History of the 

with the butts of muskets. White and colored 
men were lying side by side pierced by bay- 
onets, and in some instances transfixed to the earth. 
One brave man took his former master prisoner, 
and brought him into camp with great gusto. A 
Confederate prisoner made a particular request that 
his own Negroes should not be placed over him as 
a guard. 

" Union loss one hundred killed, five* hundred 
wounded, mostly Negroes. Confederate loss two 
hundred killed, five hundred wounded, two hundred 
taken prisoners, and two cannon." 

The battles of Fort Pillow and Milliken's Bend 
made many friends for the colored soldiers. Their 
soldierly qualities were on trial ; the experiment of 
arming Negroes to fight for the Union was being 
tried. This the colored troops seemed to realize, 
and it stimulated them to do their very best. They 
fought courageously, and fully satisfied all doubts 
concerning their valor. 

The Draft Riot broke out in New York in July, 
1863. An order came from Washington, authoriz- 
ing soldiers to be drafted in New York City.- The 
Democratic newspapers ridiculed the idea of the 
people's being drafted into service " to fight the 
battles of 'niggers and Abolitionists.'" General 
Wood finally put down the riot after killing thir- 

Negro Race in America. 113 

teen of the rioters, wounding eighteen and taking- 
twenty -four prisoners. "They had burned the 
Colored Orphan's Asylum, hung colored men to 
lamp-posts, and destroyed the property of this class 
of citizens with impunity." 

The 54th Massachusetts was the first colored regi- 
ment organized in the free States, Colonel Shaw 
commander. It played a prominent part in the 
attempt to take Fort IVagner, near Charleston, 
S. C. It marched two days and nights through 
swamps and drenching rains to be in time for the 
assault. Soaking wet, muddy, hungry and fatigued, 
they reached the field in time and gladly accepted 
the "post of honor and danger," immediately in 
front. After a five minutes' rest they double- 
quicked a half-mile to the fort, where, after a most 
gallant and desperate fight, Sergeant William H. 
Carney planted the regiment's flag on the works. 
Nearly all the officers of the regiment were killed, 
and it was led off by a boy — Lieut. Higginson. 

"Sergeant Carney," says an eye witness, "received 
a severe wound in the thigh, but fell only upon his 
knees. He planted the flag upon the parapet, lay 
on the outer slope, that he might get as much, 
skelter as possible ; there he remained for over half 
an hour, till the second brigade came up. He kept 
the colors flying till the second conflict was ended. 


A School History of- the 

Negro Race in America. 115 

When our forces retired he followed, creeping on 
one knee, still holding the flag." When he entered 
the hospital (bleeding from one wound in the head 
and another in the thigh) "his wounded comrades 
cheered him," and he said, "Boys, the old flag never 
touched the ground." 

The Negro Soldiers. The sentiment against the 
Negro at the North had somewhat abated in the 
face of the irresistible bravery as exhibited by 
Negro troops at W r agner and Port Hudson. The 
North saw that wonderful results could be achieved 
by Negro soldiers. 

The Confederates exchanged before this some 
Union officers, but refused to exchange Negroes. 

1 1 6 A School History of the 



This fort is located on the east bank of the 
Mississippi, about fifty miles above Memphis, in 
Tennessee. It crowned the top of a steep bluff, 
covered with trees and shrubbery. Major L- F. 
Booth was in command with a garrison of 557 men, 
262 of whom were colored. There were six artil- 
lery pieces. Gen. N. B. Forest, commanding a large 
corps of Confederate cavalry, appeared at the fort at 
sunrise on the 13th of April, 1S64, and demanded 
its surrender Major Booth drew up his force in 
the intrenchments around the parapet. Thus a con- 
tinual firing was kept up till the afternoon,, during 
which Major Booth was killed. Major Bradford 
took command. The firing ceased for the guns to 
cool off and to be cleaned. Meanwhile, under a 
flag of truce, Gen. Forest demanded the surren- 
der of the fort, stating, "If I have to storm your 
works, you may expect no quarter." The Con- 
federates, taking advantage of the truce, were 
hiding in the trenches from which Major Bradford 
had withdrawn his men into the fort. A few 

Negro Race in America. 117 

moments later they rushed in with their deafening 
yell — "No quarter!" 

The Union troops offered stubborn resistance, 
but, with superior numbers crowding in from front, 
rear and sides, they were overcome and surren- 

The War in the West was now about at an end. 
Sherman set out upon his famous inarch through 
Georgia; Grant, having opened up the Mississippi, 
marched on Richmond, which had now become the 
strategic point of the war. McClellan, Hooker, 
Meade and Burnside had failed in their assaults 
on this the Confederate capital. All hopes were 
now centered in Grant. To him was assigned the 
task, and this brings us to the 


Twenty Thousand Strong marched the Negro 
troops into the campaign of Virginia. On their 
way they passed through Washington. Mr. Lin- 
coln, with Gen. Burnside and friends, reviewed the 
long line from the balcony of Willard's Hotel. As 
the long, heav}^ columns filed past, the President 
acknowledged their almost continuous "Hurrah 
for Lincoln]!" He was deeply touched \>y the 
spectacle ; there were tears in many eyes that saw the 

u8 A School History of the 

brave thousands of sable sons, but a little while ago 
slaves, now gallantly marching to defend the Union. 
It was a scene never forgotten by those who saw it. 

With Equal Pay, a recognition as soldiers by Mr. 
Davis, and a brilliant record, marched the Negro 
troops into the Virginia campaign. Gen. Butler, 
who was now convinced by the scenes at Port Hud- 
son, Forts Pillow and Wagner of the Negro's capac- 
ity for fighting, was stationed at Bermuda Hun- 
dreds with a large corps of Negro troops. 

Grant Threw His Forces across the Rapidan and 
met the Confederates in The Wilderness. He left 
Gen. Ferrero with his colored troops to protect his 
wagon train in the rear. Eivell with the Confed- 
erate cavalry, whipped around in search of these 
supplies. Gen. Ferrero with his Negro troops met 
Bwell. The Confederates made a bold charge and 
captured twenty-seven wagons. The hungry sol- 
diers prepared to feast on their plunder. 

Gen. Ferrero opened fire. The Confederates charged 
again, giving the colored troops their very best, but 
the Negro regiments did not budge. Gen. Ferrero 
then ordered his troops to charge, and, in this the 
first fight between Negro troops and Virginians, 
the Confederates were driven " as the gale drives 
chaff." "It was the first time at the* Bast," says 
Gen. Badeau in his Military History of Grant, 

Negro Race in America. 119 

"when the colored troops had been engaged in any 
important battle, and the display of soldierly qual- 
ities won a frank acknowledgment from both troops 
and commanders, not all of whom had before been 
willing to look upon Negroes as comrades. But 
after that time, white soldiers in the Army of the 
Potomac were not displeased to receive the support 
of the black ones ; they had found the support 
worth having." 

120 A School History of the 



Here it was that Negro soldiers covered them- 
selves with merited glory in the presence of white 
troops on both sides ; surprising in their daring to 
officers trained at West Point, and that, too, on the 
very soil where slavery first made its appearance 
in this country. 

The City of Petersburg lies on the Appomattox 
river near the James, and not far from Richmond, 
with which it has railroad connection, and formed 
the base of supplies up the James for the troops in 
defence of Richmond. It therefore became an 
important point to reduce. It was strongly forti- 
fied on all sides for miles out. 

The Task of Taking the "Cockade City," as it 
was called, fell to Gen. Smith, assisted by General 
Kautz, coming up on the East; Brooks, following 
Kautz; Martindale, who was to move up the 
Appomattox, and Hinks, who moved between the 
two. The black brigade was under Gen Hinks, who 
discovered a Confederate battery on a knoll six 
miles out from the city. Under range of the Con- 

Negro Race in America. 121 

federate guns he formed his line for a charge. The 
battery must be taken at the point of the bayonet. 
" Forward!" rang out along the line, and as the 
troops cleared the woods the enemy opened a raking 
fire with canister, siege gun and musket. But 
away swept the black brigade, their ranks shattered 
with deadly shells. As they closer came, a fusilade 
of musket^ came down upon them ; a hundred 
men fell ; but leaping and dashing, with a wild 
cheer they burst over the bulwarks, drove the 
enemy from their guns, and instantly turned them 
on their scattered ranks beating a hasty retreat 
towards Petersburg — and the colored troops had 
won the day. 

Brooks and Martindale were now in front of the 
Confederates' main line near the river. Hinks, 
with his Negro corps of 3,000, was ordered towards 
"Dunn's House," three miles from the city on the 
road leading east. 

To Reach His Position it was necessary to cross 
an open space in full reach of the sharp-shooters 
and artillery of the enemy. They crossed this 
space by moving forward a few paces and then 
lying down ; at every quiet moment they would steal 
forward; the}^ thus reached their position under the 
most trying test. But on reaching their post, so 
thick and deadly was the firing from all sides that 

122 A School History of the 

they dared not rise; so thus they lay from one till 
five o'clock p. m., while torrents of lead whizzed 
over their heads. 

"Dunn's House" was defended by three forts, 
one in front, one north and another south. Deep 
ravines lay in front, while an almost impassable 
abatis of trees impeded the way to the forts. Seven 
hundred yards in front lay Hink's black troops 
hungry for the fray. Thus they lay in deep sus- 
pense, anxious for orders to go forward. Mean- 
while, shells plowed the earth around them for 
four long hours, which seemed to them like days. 

At Five O'clock the command "Forward!" was 
greeted with a rush and a shout. The brave Negro 
troops went forward at a double-quick; the skir- 
mishers were the first to reach the embankments, 
and were greeted with a shower of bullets which 
tumbled many headlong and lifeless into the pits. 
But on came the main body as if impelled by 
lightning; they swept into the midst of the enemy, 
grabbed their guns and fired them upon them as 
they "ran for their lives." Three hundred Con- 
federates were taken prisoners, and several pieces of 
artillery were captured. 

Smith Had Petersburg now at his mercy. Brooks 
and Martindale had swept the enemy in front of 
them simultaneously with Hinks, and the way was 

Negro Race in America. 123 

open to march immediately into the city. Gen. 
Smith, however, decided to wait for the arrival of 
Gen. Birney with the Second Corps — and this delay 
caused the loss of many thousand lives. 

Next Morning, as the sun peeped up over the yel- 
low waters of the Appomattox, the condition of 
things had changed. The flower of Lee's ariny 
had come up in the night-time, and Grant was 
compelled afterwards to lay siege to the city, under 
which it finally surrendered. 

Secretary Stanton was wild with delight over the 
valor of the colored troops at Petersburg. Said he : 
"The hardest fighting was done by the black troops. 
The forts they stormed were the worst of all. After 
the affair was over, Gen. Smith went to thank them, 
and tell them he was proud of their courage and 
dash. He says they cannot be excelled as soldiers, 
and that hereafter he will send them in a difficult 
place as readily as the white troops." 

124 A School History of the 



Petersburg was now surrounded by the Union 
army. ^There was continual skirmishing. Burnside 
commanded the Ninth Corps, composed partly of 
Negro troops. By fierce fighting he made his way 
up to within a hundred and fifty yards of the Confed- 
erate batteries. Projecting out in front of them was 
a strong fort. After consultation a trench was dug 
out some hundred and fifty yards long, branching off 
in two directions at the end under the fort. It w r as 
packed withrpowder and explosives, the design being 
to blow the place up. As arranged, on the 30th of 
July, 1864, the match was applied. Dampness 
prevented an explosion. Lieut. Jacob Douty and 
Sergeant Henry Rus volunteered to go into the 
trenches and ascertain and remove the difficulty, 
and very soon after they came out, at 4:45 A. m., the 
match was again applied, and — read the result, by 
Gen. Badeau : " The mine exploded with a shock like 
that of an earthquake, tearing up the Confederates' 
works above them, and vomiting men, guns and 
caissons, two hundred feet into the air. The tie- 

Negro Race in America. 125 

mendous mass appeared for a moment to hang 
suspended in the heavens like a huge indented cone, 
the exploding powder still flashing out here and 
there, while limbs and bodies of mutilated men, 
and fragments of cannon and wood-work, could be 
seen. Then all fell heavily to the ground again, with 
a second report like thunder. When the smoke 
and dust had cleared away, only an enormous cra- 
ter, thirty feet deep, sixty feet wide, and a hundred 
and fifty feet long stretched out in front of the 
Ninth Corps, where the Confederate fort had been." 

At the moment of the explosion the Union bat- 
teries belched forth from one hundred and ten deadly 
cannon and fifty mortars, and verily the earth 
seemed to tremble from the shock. 

The Plan was to follow the discharge of the bat- 
teries with a charge. Gen. Burn side had arranged 
his Negro troops for the post of honor. A dispute 
arose between him and Gen. Meade as to the wis- 
dom of this plan. The whole matter was referred 
to Gen. Grant, who ordered lots to be draivn by the 
different Generals as to "who should go into the 
crater." The lot fell on Gen. Ledlie. Gen. Ledlie 
accordingly endeavored to draw up his troops into the 
mouth of the crater. The Tenth New Hampshire 
faltered and broke ranks. Generals Potter and 

126 A School History of the 

Wilcox marched their troops into the dreadful hole, 
where they halted long enough for the Confeder- 
ates to make an attack. 

Gen. Potter Struggled out with his division and 
charged the enemy, but had to retire. Gen. Burn- 
side now ordered his colored troops around the 
edges of the crater; the Confederates were now 
gathering around from all sides, and under a heavy 
fire drove the colored troops into the deadly hole, 
from which they continued to rally until nightfall. 

A Ridiculous Mistake was made by the Federals 
in not marching into the city immediately after the 
explosion, when the Confederates were nonplused 
and breaking away in mad confusion. Gen. Grant 
says of this disgraceful affair: "The four divisions 
of his (Burnside's) corps were commanded by 
Generals Potter, Wilcox, Ledlie and Ferrero. The 
last was a colored division ; and Burnside selected 
it to make the assault. Meade interfered with 
this. Burnside then took Ledlie's division." 

Before the committee that investigated the affair 
Gen. Grant said: "Gen. Burnside wanted to put 
his colored division in front ; I believe if he had 
done so it would have been a success." 

Four Thousand Four Hundred Union soldiers 
perished through the mistake then of not allowing 

Negro Race in America. 127 

the colored troops to take the Confederate works* 
which Gen. Grant says they would have taken. 

How the Colored Soldiers fought in the crater let 
the Confederate commanders (some of whose slaves 
were there) speak: "Ah, boys, you have got hot 
work ahead — they are Negroes and show no quar- 
ter." (Col. Stewart.) 

"Encouraged, Threatened, Emulating the white 
troops, the black men fought with desperation. 
Some Confederate soldiers recognized their slaves at 
the crater. A Captain of the Forty-first Virginia, 
gave the military salute to 'Bob' and 'Ben,' whom 
he had left hoeing corn in Dinwiddie." 

Petersburg Being Captured, the siege of Rich- 
mond was begun with a vigor and determination 
such as only a Grant could command. Meanwhile, 
a lively discussion was going on at the Confederate 
capital as to the proposition of Mr. Benjamin to 
arm the slaves in defence of the city. Gen. Lee 
and Mr. Jefferson Davis favored this plan, and 
recommended that such colored people as would 
join the Confederate ranks should be set free. 

Some Score or More Blacks, three of whom were 
Mr. Benjamin's slaves, enlisted and were daily 
drilled in the capital square, which stands on an 
eminence in the center of the city. 

128 A School History of the 

Gen. Lee was now employing his best troops and 
military manoeuvres to keep Grant out of the Con- 
federate capital. His retreats and skirmishes, exe- 
cuted with genius and tact, delayed the event; but, 
opposed by superior numbers, his army half-starved, 
and the Confederacy subjugated in the South-west, 
he saw the uselessness of a further hopeless sacri- 
fice of his men and surrendered accordingly at 
Appomattox on the 9th of April, 1865, "he and 
his army, defeated in every way possible, number- 
ing 27,516," and "every man was fed by the con- 

When the Union Army marched into Richmond 
the Confederates set the city on fire, and commenced 
a wholesale destruction and plunder of everything. 
Thousands of gallons of rum were emptied into 
the streets, and staggering destruction of every- 
thing useful seemed in order. The colored troops 
were organized into fire brigades and soon extin- 
guished the fires and stopped the plunder their 
masters had begun. 

Negro Race in America. 129 



Rodman's Point, N. C, was the scene of a brave 
deed by a Negro. A flat-boat full of troops, with a 
few colored soldiers among them, tried to land at 
this place. The Confederate soldiers were lying in 
wait for the boat, and the soldiers in it could only 
save themselves by lying flat on the bottom out of 
reach of their deadly guns. But if the boat 
remained where it was very long it would be sur- 
rounded »and captured. One of the colored soldiers 
saw the danger, and knowing the boat must be 
pushed off or all would be killed, suddenly rose up 
and said: " Somebody got to die to get us all out 
dis 'ere, and it mout jes as well be me as anybody!" 
Saying this he deliberately stepped on shore and 
pushed the boat off. The men in the bottom were 
saved, but the Negro hero's body "fell forward 
into the end of the boat, pierced by five bullets." 
He had done what none of them dared do to save 
the lives of his comrades. 

A Negro Established a Clothes-line Telegraph in 
the Falmouth camp on the Rappahannock in 1863. 
The Confederate and Union armies occupied oppo- 

130 A School History of the 

site sides of the river and used every means of 
gaining knowledge of each others movements. 
The colored attendant in the Union camp proved 
very valuable here as elsewhere during the war. A 
colored man named Dabney drifted into the Union 
lines one day from a neighboring farm, and soon 
proved very useful because of his full knowledge 
of the topography of the country. He was given 
employment as "cook and body servant." He 
became much interested in the system of army sig- 
nals employed and begged to have them explained 
to him. This was done and he learned them readily. 
His wife soon came over, and after staying awhile 
was allowed to return as servant to a "secesh 
woman" whom General Hooker was about to send 
to her friends on the other side. She went over 
and took a place as laundress at "the headquarters 
of a prominent rebel General." Dabney, her hus- 
band, was on the Union side, and soon began to 
know all about what was to take place in the Con- 
federate camp. An hour or two before any move- 
ment took place he could tell all about it, and it 
always turned out as he said. The wonder and 
puzzle to the Union men was how he got his infor- 
mation, as he didn't seem to neglect his work to go 
off for any information and did not converse with 
the scouts. After numerous questions and many 

Negro Race in America. 131 

requests he finally took one of the officers to a 
prominent point near by, and pointed out a cabin 
on the banks of the river in the suburbs of the 
enemy's camp. He asked the officer if he saw a 
clothes-line with clothes hanging on it. The 
officer replied "Yes," whereupon Dabney said: 
"Well, that clothes-line tells me in half an hour just 
what goes on in their camp. You see my wife over 
there, she washes for the officers, and cooks and 
waits around, and as soon as she hears of any 
movement or anything going on she comes down 
and moves the clothes on that line so I can under- 
stand it in a minute. That there gray shirt is 
Longstreet, and when she takes it off it means he's 
gone down about Richmond. That white shirt 
means Hill, and when she moves it up to the west 
end of the line, Hill's Corps has moved up stream. 
That red one is Stonewall. He's down on the right 
now, and if he moves she will move that red shirt." 
One morning Dabney came in and reported a 
movement over there, but said it "Don't mean any- 
thing, they are only making believe." An officer 
went out to look at the clothes-line telegraph through 
his field-glass. There had been quite a shifting 
over there of the army flannels. "But how do you 
know but there's something in it?" "Do you see 
those two blankets pinned together at the bottom?" 

132 A School History of the 

said Dabney. "Yes, but what of it?" said the offi- 
cer. " Why, that's her way of making a fish-trap ; 
and when she pins the clothes together that way, 
it means that Lee is only trying to draw us into 
his fish-trap." As long as the two armies lay watch- 
ing each other on opposite banks of the stream, 
Dabney with his clothes-line telegraph continued 
to be one of the promptest and most reliable of 
General Hooker's scouts. (Taken from Civil 
War — Song and Story). 

William Staines, Hero of the Fight at Belmont, was 
servant to Gen. McClernand. He was close by his 
employer during many an engagement. On one 
occasion, in the course of the fight, a captain of one 
of the companies was struck by a spent ball, which 
disabled him from walking. Stains, the colored 
servant, rode up to him and shouted, "Captain, 
if you can fight any longer for the Stars and 
Stripes, take my horse and lead your men." He 
then dismounted and helped the wounded officer 
into his saddle, and, as he was walking away, a 
rebel dragoon rushed forward at the officer to take 
him prisoner. The brave Stains did not flinch, 
but drew his revolver and put a ball through the 
rebel's head, scattering his brains over the horse's 
neck. (Revised from Civil War — Song and Story.) 

Negro Race in America. 133 



For four years the American people had been 
fighting among themselves. At the outbreak of the 
struggle the freedom of the slaves was not looked 
for by many. But the Abolitionists, who grew 
stronger as the war progressed, pressed their views 
upon the leaders of the country. They took every 
advantage of every opportunity to make the free- 
dom of the slaves the main issue of the war; and 
their efforts, coupled with the desire of the Union 
leaders to weaken the Confederacy by employing 
negro troops, to whom they offered freedom, caused 
the final proclamation of Mr. Lincoln, in 1863, 
giving freedom to the slaves. 

In this War there were employed on the Union 
side more than 186,000 colored soldiers, whose 
bravery stands vouched for by every Union, and 
many Confederate Generals, who saw them as dar- 
ing in the face of death as their fellow white 

On the Confederate Side there were enlisted 
throughout the South, in various employments, 
some six thousand colored troops. But all over 

134 A School History of the 

the South, while their masters were away at war, 
the Negro women and men were enlisted in the 
ranks of the private duties of the Southern soldiers' 
home, which, ever be it remembered to the honor 
and credit of the Negro race of America, they pro- 
tected faithfully and industriously. The oppor- 
tunity for outrage and plunder was open on every 
side, but not a hurtful hand was laid on the thou- 
sands of white widows, orphans and aged who 
lay defenceless in the Negroes' power. This action 
on the part of the slaves proves that the race is 
not fond of bloodshed, and is kind even to its 

Some Plantations, on the contrary, were found 
in better trim on the return of the masters from 
the war than when they left them. 

Negro Body-servants accompanied their masters 
into the war, shared the roughs of camp life, and 
often were the last to minister to their wants in 
the hospital, and the first to bear the tidings home 
to the anxious family after death; taking with 
them sometimes the treasured watch or ring. 

*Mr. James H. Jones, of Raleigh, N. C, served 
as messenger to Mr. Jefferson Davis during his 

* He emphatically denies the assertion that has gained currency, to the effect 
that Mr. Jefferson Davis, while escaping from the Union forces, was attired in 
female clothes. Mr. J. states that the Confederate President used a large cloak, 
which he usually wore indoors, to disguise himsell with. 

Negro Race in America. 135 

Presidency of the Confederacy at Richmond. He 
was with hiin when caught by the Union troops 
in South-west Georgia, and was also confined with 
him in the "Rip-Raps" at Hampton Roads, Vir- 
ginia. After the war, Mr. Jones kept up a corre- 
spondence with Mr. Davis until his death, and 
received a new photograph whenever Mr. Davis 
had a new one taken. Mr. Jones is now an hon- 
ored citizen of Raleigh, and a member of the Board 
of Aldermen. 

136 A School History of the 



After the Surrender of Lee at Appomattox, the 

question arose as to what should be done with the 
Southern States that for four years had rebelled 
against the flag of the Union and had set up a flag 
of their own. The Southern flag was now con- 
quered ; and the plan of the North was to restore 
these conquered States into the Union. Amnesty 
was offered all those who desired it. A Provisional 
Government was first established in North Carolina, 
with W. W. Holdeu at its head ; other States were 
organized in the same way. Conventions were 
called by the Provisional Governors of the several 
States, and new Constitutions adopted in conformity 
with the Constitution of the United States. 

The Right to Vote was denied .the colored people. 
Exclusion from public places was established by 
law. Thirty-nine lashes was the punishment for 
keeping fire-arms. When white persons were impli- 
cated colored people could not testify in the courts. 

The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, 
making the race citizens, was virtually made null 

Negro Race in America. 137 

and void by the legislatures of the reconstructed 
States. So it became necessary to pass The Civil 
Rights Bill, giving the colored people the right to 
enter public places, and ride on first-class railroad 
cars. This bill has been declared unconstitutional 
by our Supreme Court. Owing to the attempts of 
the Ku-Klux Klan to prevent colored people from 
voting, the fifteenth amendment was passed guar- 
anteeing to them the right to vote and to have their 
votes counted. Thus the eleven Southern States 
were reconstructed on a basis of universal suffrage, 
and the colored race began to develop statesmen, 
orators, lawyers, judges, teachers of various kinds, 
ministers, and discreet, far-seeing business men. 

the freedmen's bureau. 

The design of this institution was to educate the 
newly emancipated colored people into all the ways 
of freedom. Schools were opened, to which there 
was a general rush, so great was the thirst for 
knowledge. Many gray heads could be seen among 
the children, and the "Blue Back Speller" was 
often to be seen even in the Sabbath-schools. Such 
a stampede, such an ardent desire for knowledge, 
was possibly never witnessed anywhere before. 
Many very old people learned to read the Bible and, 

138 A School History of the 

the joy they seemed to get from this long coveted 
privilege was poured out in often, thankful and fer- 
vent prayer. 

Gen. 0. 0. Howard was a leading spirit in the 
establishment of the Freedmen's Bureau. His 
design was to make the colored people better citi- 
zens in every respect. With him was associated a 
saintly corps of devoted, missionary inclined white 
men and women, who planted school-houses and 
churches in many a hamlet of this once slave- 
cursed but now free land. 

Many of These People came from the best fami- 
lies of the North, were well educated, refined and 
cultured. Their pupils were not slow in catching 
the beautiful graces of these instructors, and their 
extra qualities are demonstrated in the wonderful 
educational progress the race has made within only 
twenty-six years of actual freedom. 

The Plan was to locate schools at central points 
where teachers and preachers might be trained to 
go out into the rural districts in which the majority 
of the race still lived. The money was contributed 
by benevolent people of the North, and a wiser 
investment, both for God and humanity, was never 

Through the Influence of the Freedmen's Bureau 
the Southern States got their present free-school 

Negro Race in America. 139 

system, which they did not have before the war. 
Some schools established during this time were 
Shaw University, Raleigh, N. C. ; Howard Univer- 
sity, Washington, D. C. ; Fisk University, Nash- 
ville, Tenn. ; Atlanta University, Atlanta, Ga. ; 
Hampton Normal School, Hampton, Va., and 
many others, whose influence for good is incal- 

140 A School History of the 



Through a Century and a Half we have now 
traced our ancestors' history. We have seen how 
they performed the hard tasks assigned them by 
their masters: following the hoe and the plow with 
a langh and a song ; making magnificent estates, 
bnilding mansions, furnishing them with the splen- 
dor of the times ; so eager in patriotism as to be the 
first to shed their blood on the altar of their country's 
liberty. All this they did with no other hope of 
reward than a slave's cabin and a life of bondage 
for themselves and children. Scarcely have they 
ever sought revenge in riot or bloodshed. Stolen 
from a home of savage freedom they found them- 
selves in strait circumstances as slaves in America, 
but the greatness of the Negro's nature crops out 
plainly in the wonderful way in which he adapted 
himself to his new conditions. The fact that he 
went to work willingly, worked so long and faith- 
fully, and rebelled so little, marks him as far 
superior to the Indian, who never accepts the con- 
ditions of labor, either for himself or another; and 
universally enjoys the rank of a savage rather 

Negro Race in America. 141 

than that of a civilized being. A plant placed in 
the window of a dark chamber gradually bends its 
foliage towards the sunlight ; so the Negro, sur- 
rounded by the darkness of slavery, bent his life 
toward the light of his master's God. He found 
Him. In Him he trusted, to Him he prayed, from 
Him he hoped for deliverance ; no people ever were 
more devout according to their knowledge of the 
word, no people ever suffered persecution more 
bravely, no people ever got more out of the few 
talents assigned them ; and for this humble devo- 
tion, this implicit trust and faithfulness God has 
now rewarded them. The race comes out of slavery 
with more than it had before it went in. But there 
zvas no need of any slavery at all. Jamestozvn, New 
England, and the other colonies, might have held 
the Negro long enough to serve out his passage 
from Africa, and then given him his freedom, as 
they did their white slaves imported from England. 
The mistake was made then, the mistake became a 
law which the people were educated to believe was 
just. Many did not believe it, and some slave- 
holders sought to make the condition of their slaves 
comfortable. The affection arising between the 
slave and his master often governed the treatment. 
The Negro, being largely endowed by nature with 
affection, affability and a forgiving spirit, gen- 

142 A School History oj the 

erally won for himself good treatment. Then, too, 
the master had some soul, and where that ingre- 
dient of his make-np was deficient, a selfish inter- 
est in'the slave as his property somewhat modified 
the venom that might have more often visited itself 
upon the unfortunate slave in lashes and stripes. 

Many Affections and Friendships formed between 
master and slave exist to the present day. Some 
slaves are still at the old homestead, conditions 
entirely reversed, voting differently at the polls, 
but friends at home; and in death the family of 
one follows that of the other to the grave. 

When the War Ended the whole South was in an 
unsettled condition — property destroyed, thousands 
of her sons dead on the battle-field, no credit, con- 
quered. But if the condition of the whites was 
bad, that of the blacks was worse. They were 
without. homes, money, or learning. They were now 
to feed, clothe and protect themselves in a govern- 
ment whose treasury they had enriched with two 
centuries and a half of unrequited labor, and a 
county whose laws they must obey, but could not 

It Was Natural that they should make mistakes. 
But they made less mistakes than the bummers who 
came South for plunder during reconstruction 
times, and with the false promise of "forty acres 

Negro Race in America. 143 

and a mule," led the unlettered race into a season 
of idleness and vain hopes. But this condition 
did not last. The Negro inherited the ability to 
work from the institution of slavery. He soon 
set about to utilize this ability. I ask what race 
could have done more? And this the Negro 
has done, though virtually ostracised from the ave- 
nues of trade and speculation. His admission to 
a trades union is the exception, rather than the rule, 
in America. A colored boy taking a place as porter 
in a store at the same time with a white boy, may 
find the white boy soon promoted to a clerkship, 
then to a partnership in the firm, if he is smart; 
but the colored boy remains year after year where 
he first commenced, no matter how worthy, no 
matter how competent. His lot is that of a menial, 
custom assigns him there, and in looking for clerks 
and partners he is not thought of by the white 
business man ; and thus, by the rigid laws of custom, 
he has continually lost golden opportunities to 
forge his fortune; yet he has prospered in spite of 
this, and it bespeaks for him a superior manhood. 

144 <A School History of the 



Before the war the colored people of the South 
worshipped mainly in the white churches, or in sep- 
arate churches usually ministered to by white 
pastors. But the colored people, naturally inclined 
to religion, soon developed preachers of their own. 
They composed their own music, which expressed, 
in their own way, thanks and petitions to heaven. 
Their music isoriginal, entertaining, and pathetic — 
and the only original music of the American Cont- 
inent, when we remember that other than Negro 
tecniques and melodies are all borrowed from the 
masters of Europe. 

Debarred of the Privileges of schools, it is not 
surprising that the religion of the slaves should be 
otherwise than somewhat twisted from the cul- 
tured tone of the Bible to suit the whims of an 
unlettered race. It can be truly said though, that, 
considering the circumstances, they did not bury 
the talents given them. But the religious progress 
since freedom is so marvelous as to completely 
overshadow much of the darkness of the past. Let 

Negro Race in America. 


us notice briefly several of the great religious 
denominations of the race. The colored people 
produce less infidels than any other similar num- 
ber of people in America. They are proverbially 

religious and God-fearing. 


Bishop W. J. Gaines is a representative of what 
twenty-five years of freedom has done in many 
instances for the colored race. He was born a 
slave in Georgia on the plantation of the famous 
Robert Toombs, member of the Confederate Cab- 
inet. He had reached his majority before the 

146 A School History of the 

war ended, and it is needless to say his chances for 

early culture were very meagre. But, nevertheless, 
he learned to read at odd moments, and after freedom 
applied himself to his books with undaunted and 
determined zeal. He often speaks of how "I 
made up my mind when I entered the ministry 
to reach the highest position in my church through 
merit." He has won his coveted prize in this 
respect ; and' each step of his life, from the plow- 
handle to the Bishopric, has been markedly illus- 
trious. He is a living argument of the innate genius 
of the race, that might, like the poet's rose, have 
been "born to blush unseen," but for the fact that 
he embraced the possibilities that freedom opened 
up before him. He is of commanding presence, 
dignified, and a natural leader of men. It is an 
inspiration to be in his presence, and his appear- 
ance on the rostrum is natural and complete. 

He has possibly built more church edifices than 
any other member of his denomination. Morris 
Brown College, of Atlanta, worth something over 
seventy thousand dollars, is the work of his 
hands, and that of itself would sufficient^ speak 
for his ability, without referring to thousands of 
dollars raised for other purposes. Bishop Gaines 
can be counted on to foster and encourage any 
enterprise tending to the benefit of the Negro race, 

Negro Race in America. 147 

and he never fails to encourage the young people 
who are anxious to rise. 

The A. M. E. Church, founded by Rev. Richard 
Allen, of Philadelphia, Penu., because of the spirit 
of caste and race prejudice of the Protestant 
Church during and after the American Revolution, 
has exerted a broad and unmeasured influence 
upon the Negro race. From a meeting held in 
1816, at Rev. Allen's private house, has sprung 
surprising results. It has 3,394 churches, valued 
at $5,028,126; 660 parsonages, valued at $312,- 
763.75, and the total valuation of church property 
is $5,341,889.25. It has a publication depart- 
ment, which sends out the Christian Recorder and 
A. M. E. Revieiv to thousands of people. The 
salaries of the editors of these papers amount to 
$10,800. In 1887, the money raised for all pur- 
poses was $1,064,569.50, with an indebtedness 
of $509,113.24. Wilberforce University is a noted 
institution controlled by the A. M. E. Church. 
The influence of this church for good among 
the people cannot be measured. The bishops 
are an extraordinary set of learned men, many 
of whom are self-made, but yet are authors, 
orators, linguists, theologians and scholars that 
will compare favorably with the best theological 
brain of America. 


A School History of the 


Rev. E. M. Brawley, of Charleston, S. C, is 
noted especially for his sober, earnest aud pious 
Christian life. He is a scholarly gentleman and 
thoroughly devoted to the interests of his people. 
It has been his fortune to be President of Selma 
University, Ala. ; Sunday-school agent in South 
Carolina, and editor of the Baptist Tribune. Such, 
a hard-working, zealous and thoroughly honest 
man should be a pride to any race. 

Negro Race in America. 149 

The Baptist Church was founded by Roger Wil- 
liams. The church officers derive their power from 
the members. In the beginning Roger Williams' 
influence had a tendency to keep down race 
prejudice. But from the rapid increase of slaves, 
the feeling grew until self-interest demanded a 
separation. They form a body of useful and 
intelligent people. Kentucky has a host of Bap- 
tists, who own much valuable property. There are 
more Baptists in Virginia than any other Southern 
State. Some of the churches have very large 
congregations. There are a large number of Bap- 
tist churches in the District of Columbia, some of 
which have interesting histories. Among the 
noble, true and faithful workers of the Baptists are 
Duke, Williams, Anderson and Leonard, Andrew 
Grimes and Dr. W. J. Simmons, of Louisville, Ky., 
who have consecrated their lives to their church in 
the spreading of the gospel. 

The Baptist Church exercises a religious and edu- 
cational influence over more colored people than 
any other denomination in America. I gather 
from the minutes of their National Convention of 
1887, that they have a total membership in the 
United States of 1,155,486; and that they have 
6,605 ordained ministers, 3,304 Sabbath-schools, 

i .SO 

A School History of the 

Negro Race in America. 151 

with 10,718 teachers and officers, and 194,492 
pupils. They own $3,056,571 worth of church 
property. They operate twenty-five colleges and 
seminaries, worth $1,072,140, and in which are 
annually taught more than 3,609 pupils. 

The A. M. E. Zion Church is another of the power- 
ful religious denominations among the colored 
people, and is everywhere urging the race to a 
higher standard of living in all respects. Their 
membership is in the neighborhood of 500,000. 
They support and control entirely Livingston Col- 
lege, of Salisbury, N. C, a progressive and well 
manned institution, and the Star of Zion, the church 
organ, ably edited by Mr. John C. Dancy. The 
Livingston College Faculty is all colored, and it 
has property valued at over $100,000. 

The Northern Methodist Church supports many 
churches in the South ministered over by colored 
pastors. There are several schools supported by 
them, prominent among which is Bennett College, 
of Greensboro, N. C, and controlled entirely by a 
colored Faculty. Other schools of this denomina- 
tion manned by white Faculties are, with Bennett 
College, doing a most necessary and beneficial work 
among the colored people. So might be mentioned 
schools and churches supported by Northern Pres- 
byterians, Northern Congregationalists, and other 

152 A School History of the 

denominations, all of which are to be reckoned as 
great uplifting agencies among the colored people. 
Some of the Northern societies spend hundreds of 
thousands of dollars every year on Negro education 
and religion in the South. 

Negro Race in America. 153 



Can the Negro learn anything? was the first ques- 
tion he had to answer after schools were estab- 
lished for hirn. He has answered this question 
satisfactorily to the most incredulous in every 
instance where brought to a test. The fact that 
every slave State had laws against his being taught 
before the war, and that they opposed it afterwards, 
ought to be a sufficient answer. But if this is not 
sufficient, let speak the deeds of Professor Scar- 
borough, of Macon, Ga., author of a series of Greek 
text-books which have been adopted at Yale ; Geo. 
W. Williams, author of "History of the Amer- 
ican Negro;" Jos. T. Wilson, author of "Black 
Phalanxi"; C. G. Morgan, class orator at Harvard, 
1890, and a host of others. 


It would be a serious error to omit, in speaking 
of the educational progress of the Negro since 
freedom, what has been done to help him by the 
Southern States. Though at first bitterly opposed 

154 A School History of the 

to Negro education, there has been a wonderful 
change of sentiment on this subject. They made 
laws against Negro education before the war, now 
they make laws for it. In the more liberal portions 
of many Southern States, good schools are provided 
for the colored children. Some States have asylums 
for the deaf, dumb, blind and insane. The 
Institute for these unfortunates at Raleigh, N. C, 
is entirely supported by the State, which employs 
a most competent colored Principal in the person 
of Professor W. F. Debnam. The South spends 
annually about $6,000, coo on Negro schools, and 
this sum will soon be increased. Some of the 
States have Normal Schools, Universities and Train- 
ing Schools for the colored youth. There are some 
who oppose Negro education on the ground that 
the whites pay two-thirds of the taxes. A false 
position this — the laborer and consumer pay the 
taxes on capital. The Negro is the laborer of the 
South, and a large consumer. He produces more 
than a billion dollars worth of farm products annually, 
not estimating other products; and it is his toil, 
his muscle that makes the school-fund ; and out of 
the inexhaustible store-house of his own labor does 
he draw his quota of the appropriation for the 

The High Schools, Seminaries, Colleges and Pro- 
fessional Schools for the colored people, number 

Negro Race in America. 


156 A School History of the 

nearly two hundred. Many of them are controlled 
entirely by colored Faculties, as Livingston and 
Bennett Colleges, N. G. ; Kittrell's Normal and 
Industrial Institute, and Shaw University, except 
its President, who is white, but one of the first 
Presidents to recognize the ability of 3^011 ng colored 
men to teach the higher branches. Dr. H. M. 
Tupper inaugurated a movement by putting young 
colored men at work in Shaw University, which has 
been followed by many of the other schools sup- 
ported by donations from white friends in the North. 
The plan works admirably well, and, besides teach- 
ing the race to confide in the ability of its own 
educated men and women, it affords lucrative 
employment to many who are by nature and choice 
fitted for the work of teaching. 

A Self-made Man is a worthy description when 
applied to a Saxon. But a knowledge of the facts 
will teach us that nine-tenths of all the leading 
Negroes were and are self-made. The royal road 
to knowledge is beyond question closed to the young 
colored man. 

There is No Large Estate to draw on for school 
bills; no rich uncle or kinsman to foot the bill and 
wait till success in after years for a settlement. 
His own brawny muscle is usually the young 
colored student's means of support. Many of 

Negro Race in America. 157 

them work in school between hours- In fact, most 
of the schools for colored people in the South 
assign certain hours each day in which, the stu- 
dents are to labor. Some institutions do not spend 
one cent for domestic labor during the whole of the 
school terms. Yet they, in some instances, raise 
quite enough farm and garden products for their 
tables, and sometimes make brick enough to put 
up extra buildings. The time usually used by the 
white student in foot-ball and other games is util- 
ized by the colored student in faithful toil. The 
fact that in none of the colored schools the expense 
for tuition, board, lodging, laundry-work and inci- 
dentals is over $12 per month (and in some cases 
it is as low as $6), is a strong argument in favor of 
the help the Negro youth furnishes towards his 
own education. People with such a love for knowl- 
edge that they are willing to thus toil for it, may 
be relied upon to use that knowledge properly. 

When the War Closed there were about four 
million colored people in the United States. Scarcely 
a million of them could read. Now they number 
about eight millions, and nearly half of them can 
read. There are 1,158,008 colored children in the 
schools, anually taught by 20,000 Negro teachers. 
The colored people of the South have made more 
progress in education since the war than in any- 

158 A School History of the 

thing else ; and they are still thirsty for knowledge. 
The schools everywhere are crowded. The love 
of knowledge seems to be instinctive, and thousands 
of faithful mothers spend many weary nights at 
the ironing-board and wash-tub, in order to get 
money to help their children obtain an education. 
With the start they now have, twenty-five years 
more of earnest work will show marvelous changes 
in the educational condition of the race. No people 
ever learned more in so short a time. 


The Fisk Jubilee Singers have sung the fame of 
the Negro in all America, much of Europe and 
Australia. The slave music is the only original 
music of America. The Indian has none, and white 
Americans have borrowed from the masters of 
Europe. Negro melodies are now a part of the 
classical music of this country. The peculiarity of 
Negro song is its pathos and trueness to nature. 
It stirs the soul and revives a sunken hope. Trav- 
elers describe the music of the native African as 
sung in a major key, which key characterizes the 
songs of a conquering people. Slavery has not 
extracted this characteristic totally from the Ameri- 
can Negro's songs. While he sings not the 

Negro Race in America. 159 

conquering major of battle, lie thrills you with the 
pleasing minor of hope. Dr. Talmage says: 
"Everybody knows the natural gift of the African 
for singing. No singing on this continent like 
that of the colored churches in the South. Every- 
body going to Richmond or Charleston wants to 
hear the Africans sing." 

1 60 A School History of the 



The Freedmen's Savings Bank, though it failed, 
furnishes a strong argument in favor of the thrift 
and industty of the recently emancipated slaves. 
In this bank the colored people deposited during 
the years between 1866 and 1871, about $57,000,000. 
The original design of this institution was doubt- 
less good, but it fell into bad hands and the conse- 
quence was a most disgraceful failure. 

The Negro's Confidence in banks was, on his 
first trial of them, badly shaken. He has not 
recovered yet. Many colored people who would 
deposit their money now, are reluctant to do so 
when they remember the " Freedmen's Bank fail- 
ure." The branch offices of the bank in the dif- 
ferent States were placed in the hands of colored 
men who worked for salaries under instructions 
from the home office. To this day sentiment 
attaches blame on these colored bank officers, who 
themselves were as much deluded as the depositors. 
It was a sad and disgraceful piece of legalized rob- 
bery. But the Negro is putting his money in other 
enterprises, and though unsuccessful in his first, his 

Negro Race in America. 161 

last efforts at economy are bearing rich fruit. The 
property owned by the colored people now is com- 
puted at the following figures: 

Twenty-five Years' Accumulations: Alabama, 
$9,200,125; Arkansas, $8,010,315; Florida, $7,900, - 
400; Georgia, $10,415,330; Kentucky, $5,900,010; 
Louisiana, $18,100,528; Mississippi, $13,400,213; 
Missouri, $6,600,343 ; North Carolina, $11,010,652 ; 
South Carolina, $12,500,000 ; Texas, $18,010,545 ; 
Tennessee, $10,400,211 ; Virginia, $4,900,000. 

The Colored Churches in the United States own 
$16,310,441; the total amount of property owned 
by the colored people in all the States is rated at 
over $263,000,000. 

Much Property is owned by the colored people 
of the North and West. Some of their estates 
run high into the hundred thousands. Many, of 
them, though shut out almost entirely from the 
trades and business avenues, have accumulated 
handsome homes, and live in elegance and refine- 

Rev. A. G.Davis, of Raleigh, N. C, in an address at 
the North Carolina Colored Agricultural Fair, said, 
in reference to the Negro's progress, this, among 
other things : " Scan if you will the long line of eight 
million Negroes as they march slowly but surely 
up the road of progress, and you will find in her 

1 62 A School History of the 

ranks such men as Granville T. Woods, of Ohio, 
the electrician, mechanical engineer, manufacturer 
of telephones, telegraph and electrical instruments ; 
William Still, of Philadelphia, the coal dealer ; 
Henry Tanner, the artist; John W. Terr)', foreman 
of the Iron and Fitting Department of the Chicago 
West Division Street Car Company; J. D. Balti- 
more, engineer, machinist and inventor, of Wash- 
ington, D. C. ; Wiley Jones, of Pine Bluff, Ark., 
the owner of a street car railroad, race track and 
park ; Richard M. Hancock, foreman of the pattern 
shops of the Eagle Works and Manufacturing Co., 
and draughtsman ; John Black, the inventor, 
whose inventions are worth tens of thousands ; 
W. C. Atwood, the lumber merchant and capitalist." 
To this we might add a 



Amanda Bubanks, of Georgia $ 400,000 

Wm. Still, Philadelphia 200,000 

B. K. Bruce, Washington, D. C 200,000 

Mrs. M. Carpenter, San Francisco 300,000 

Jno. McKee, Philadelphia 300,000 

Robt. Purvis, Washington, D. C 150,000 

Negro Race in America. 


Mrs. Mars, New York $ 100,000 

Mr. Smith, New York . 150,000 

Mr. D. C. White, New York 130,000 

Mr. W. C. Coleman, North Carolina-- 100,000 

Bishop Beebee, North Carolina 50,000 

A family in Texas 12 ,000,000 

Fred. Douglass, Washington, D. C 200,000 

Bowers' Estate, Philadelphia. 80,000 

Bx. Gov. P. S. B. Pinchback, Louisiana, 150,000 
Mr. J. H. Lewis, of Boston, formerly of 

North Carolina 70,000 

The Morrisettes, of South Carolina.- 130,000 

John Thomas, Baltimore 150,000 

- W. Q. At wood, Baltimore 300,000 

Mr. Avery Smith, Florida 80,000 

Several in Alabama 50,000 

Twenty in North Carolina 10,000 

Fifty in Georgia 10,000 

One hundred in Louisiana 10,000 

Twelve in Mississippi 10,000 

Sixty in Texas 10,000 

Eight in Virginia 10,000 

All the States have numbers of colored individ- 
uals whose wealth is rated between five and ten 
thousand dollars. 

In closing this chapter on the progress of the race 
since the war, we desire to say to you, our young 

164 A School History of the 

readers, that much has been done, as you have read 
in this chapter, to raise the race in the estimation 
of the world, but much more remains to be done. 
What has been said in this chapter is not to make 
you content and satisfied; but rather to inspire new 
zeal and fresh courage, that each one of you may 
add something more to what has already been 
accomplished. You can, you must, and we believe 
you will. Do not falter on account of difficulties. 
Set your standard high and go to it, remembering 
that labor, coupled with a strong devotion to integ- 
rity, will surely conquer. 


Negro Race in America. 165 



Hon. Hiram R. Revels, a native of North Carolina, 
graduate of Knox College, 111., A. M. K. min- 
ister, President of Alcorn University, Mississippi, 
elected to the State Senate, Mississippi, was the 
first Negro to hold the position of U. S. Senator, 
elected to fill the place of Jefferson Davis in 1869, 
to the wonder and surprise of all America. 

Hon. J. Mercer Langston, A. B., A. M., LL.D. ; great 
Indian-Anglo-Saxon Negro. Grew to manhood, 
educated and pursued a business and official life in 
Ohio up to time of manhood. He made unsuc- 
cessful attempts, on account of his color, in New 
York and Ohio, to attend the law schools. After 
attempting private lessons, he grew discouraged and 
graduated from the Theological Department of 
Oberlin College, Ohio. He then studied law and 
was admitted to the bar. After this he was made 
Dean and Professor of Taw at Howard University, 
where he received the degree of TL-D. President 
Hayes appointed him U. S. Minister and Consul 

1 66 

A School History of the 

General to Hayti, which position he honorably held 
eight years. He was also President of the Virginia 
Normal Collegiate Institute. 

Hon. Robert Small, the pilot and captain of the 
steamer Planet, also the Congressman, must not be 


overlooked on these pages. Moving from Beau- 
fort, South Carolina, to Charleston in '51, he was 
employed as "rigger," thereby getting a knowledge 
of ships and the life of sailors. His greatest work 
was with the Planter, a Confederate transport 

Negro Race in America. 167 

steamer in '61, afterwards used as a dispatch boat. 
The officers retired from the boat on the night of 
May 13, 1862, and left eight colored men on watch, 
Small being one of the number. He was only 
called a wheelman then, but in reality was a pilot. 
He with the others on board conceived the risky 
plan of giving the boat over to the Federals. Every- 
thing being ready, and after taking on Small's wife 
and three children, they started out at 2 o'clock. 
In passing out of the harbor and by each fort the 
steamer gave her signals as though the Confederate 
captain was on board, and everything was all right. 
The dangerous plan, which if it had been found out 
would have ended in instant death, was a success. 
The boat was given over to the Federal Captain 
Nichols, who found her quite an additional help to 
the Union. 


On the pages of history no name shines forth 
with more lustre than that of Hon. Bobert B. 
Elliott. He was one of earth's sons, plucked too 
soon to reap the harvest which was in store for 
him. This eloquent orator and distinguished 
lawyer was a graduate from an English college. 
After finishing there he studied law under Fitz- 
Herbert, of the London bar. He then came to the 

1 68 A School History of the 

United States, and began his brilliant and successful 
career. It was in the Forty-second Congress, 
while a representative of South Carolina, that he 
impressed himself indelibly upon the minds of his 
country as a man of giant intellect and rare oratori- 
cal ability. Alexander Stephens of Georgia, Beck of 
Kentucky, Harris of Virginia, had severely assailed 
the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Bill after 
which Mr. Elliott arose and addressed the House as 
follows, an effort that bespeaks the ability of the man : 
" Mr. Speaker, while I am sincerely grateful for 
the high mark of courtesy that has been accorded 
me by this House, it is a matter of regret to me 
that it is necessary at this day that I should rise in 
the presence of an American Congress to advocate 
a bill which simply asserts rights and equal privi- 
leges for all classes of American citizens. I regret, 
sir, that the dark hue of my skin may lend a color 
to the imputation that I am controlled by motives 
personal to myself in my advocacy of this great 
measure of natural justice. Sir, the motive that 
impels me is restricted by no such narrow boundary, 
but is as broad as your Constitution. I advocate 
it, sir, because it is right. The bill, however, not 
only appeals to your justice, but it demands a 
response to your gratitude. In the events that led 

Negro Race in America. 169 

to the achievement of American independence 
the Negro was not an inactive or unconcerned 
spectator. He bore his part bravely upon many 
battle-fields, although uncheered by that certain 
hope of political elevation which victory would 
secure to the white man. The tall granite shaft, 
which a grateful State has reared above its sons 
who fell in defending Fort Griswold against the 
attack of Benedict Arnold, bears the name of 
John Freeman and others of the African race, who 
there cemented with their blood the corner-stone of 
your Republic. In the State, which I have had 
the honor in part to represent, the rifle of the black 
man rang out against the troops of the British 
crown in the darkest days of the American Rev- 
olution. ::: * * I meet him (Stephens) only as an 
adversary, nor shall age or any other consideration 
restrain me from saying that he now offers this 
Government, which he has done his utmost to 
destroy, a very poor return for its magnanimous 
treatment, to come here to seek to continue, by 
the assertion of doctrines obnoxious to the true 
principles of our Government, the burdens and 
oppressions, which rest upon five millions of his 
countrymen, who never failed to lift their earnest 
prayers for the success of this Government, when 
the gentleman was asking to break up the Union 


A School History of the 

of the States, and to blot the American Republic 
from the galaxy of nations." * * * He related 
to Mr. Beck the story of the fleeing of the Ken- 
tucky soldiers at a most urgent time during the 
second war with Great Britain, and then proceeded 
to say: "In quoting this indisputable piece of 
history, I do so only by way of admonition, and 
not to question the well-attested gallantry of the 
true Kentuckian, and to suggest to the gentleman 
that he should not flaunt his heraldry so proudly 
while he bears this bar-sinister on the military 
escutcheon of his State — a State which answered 
the call of the Republic in 1S61, when treason 
thundered at the very gates of the Capital, by 
coldly declaring her neutrality in the impending 
struggle. The Negro, true to that patriotism that 
has ever characterized and marked his histor}^ 
came to the aid of the Government in its efforts to 
maintain the Constitution. To that Government 
he now appeals ; that Constitution he now invokes 
for protection against unjust prejudices founded 
upon caste." 

William Wells Brown, Esq., was born of slave 
parents; he escaped to the North and so improved 
his time from then on until he is now known to the 
world as M. D. ; historian of the Negro race, lecturer 
and author. 

Aefrro Race in America. 



172 A School History of the 


Rev. D. A. Payne, D.D., LL.D., is the oldest bishop 
of the A. M. E. Church, also its true, tried friend. 
He is a great educator, and has the Negro's best 
interests at heart. Many generous and noble deeds 
has he done for his race. He is the scholar and 
reverenced father of the A. M. E. Church. 

Rev. William T. Dixon, the pastor of Concord 
Baptist Church, greatly deserves notice. Rev. 
Dixon has been a great power in his church, and has 
been the means of exerting an excellent intellectual 
and moral influence upon his people at Brooklyn, 
N. Y. His efforts for the conversion of the souls 
of his fellow-men are untiring, patient, and full of 
sacrifice. Manj^ faces brighten and hearts ring 
with joy when his name is called. 

Bishop H. M. Turner is well known throughout 
the United. States. He stands as a model for the 
poor boy to-cla}^ with scanty means. His early 
efforts for an education were accompanied with 
many disappointments and failures. Though free, 
he had to submit to the law, "no Negro must be 
educated." However, he got a start and added to 
his small stock until he could read the Bible and 
hymn-book. It is said that he learned fifty psalms 
in a night, and while plowing repeated them to his 
co-laborers. He was hired out most of the time 
by his father; his work was always with hard and 

Negro Race in Am erica. 173 

often cruel overseers. But lie said, and kept his 
word, when a boy, no white man should whip and 
scar his back. When about fifteen years of age he 
was employed as waiting-boy in a law office, where he 
attracted special notice by his tenacious memory and 
accuracy in delivering messages. The lawyers 
took an interest in him and taught him whatever 
he wanted to learn. From this he moved on from 
one level to the next higher — being a hard student 
all the way up to the present. He now is known 
as bishop, philosopher, politician, author, devoted 
race-man, and ex-United States Chaplain. 

Hon. P. B. S. Pinchback has the honor of having 
held more positions than any other colored man. 
He was a true and faithful soldier during the civil 
war. At the time of the impeachment of Governor 
Warmouth, of Louisiana, he became acting Gov- 
ernor of that State, finally becoming the real Gov- 
ernor until the term expired. 

Prof. Richard Theodore Greener stands with the 
first scholars of the Negro race. His essays and 
orations rank high in the fields of literature and 
oratory. He has held the position of Chief Civil 
Service Examiner of New York City, lawyer, prize 
essayist, orator, and Dean of the Law' Department 
of Howard University. 


A School History of the 



Senator B. K. Bruce, another son of the Negro 
race, though not receiving his privilege as a man 
until 1865, and notwithstanding then having 
attained to the age of 24, smothered no longer the 
intellectual fires then burning in his soul. Though 
a Virginian he entered into public life in Missis- 
sippi. Much useful knowledge he gathered while 

Negro Race in America. 175 

sergent-at-arms of the State Senate of Mississippi, 
which helped him to admirably fill his place as 
U. S. Senator. It was, also, his honor to hold the 
position of Register of the U. S. Treasury. 

Prof. W. S. Scarborough is the author of a set of 
Greek text-books which have been adopted at Yale ; 
he is also versed in many of the modern and ancient 
languages including, Gothic, Zend, Old Slavonic, 
Lithuanian, and Sanscrit. In every respect he is 
a representative man ; having come up from poverty 
and obscurity to his present high position in life. 
He was born in Macon, Ga. When the war closed 
he. like many other colored boys, entered the 
"Yankee school" there, from which he subse- 
quently attended Atlanta University. From there, 
he went to Oberlin, Ohio, where he graduated in 
1875. He taught school in the vacation months to 
support himself while in school. Well may we 
say he is a self-made man, if unflagging industry, 
self-reliance, and an indomitable determination 
to succeed may be counted as ingredients in the 
make-up of such characters. He is now teacher of 
classics in Wilberforce University, which position 
he holds in preference to many others his scholarly 
abilities fit him for, and which he might attain. 
He is recognized as a thorough scholar by the 
world of learned men, and stands out as an unchal- 
lenged vindication. of the race's ability. 

176 A School History of the 

Prof. B. T. Washington is what we so often hear 
of, a self-made man. Being left quite young an 
orphan to forge his own way through the world, 
he started out determined to get an education. 
With the assistance of friends, he reached Hampton 
Institute with fifty cents in his pocket. He 
finished the course by working out his expenses 
as janitor. After graduating at Hampton, he 
taught a while at Maiden, Va., then his home, and 
then took a course of study at Wayland Seminary. 
He taught two years at Hampton Institute and 
then accepted the position of Principal of the Tus - 
kegee Normal School, which he has held with a 
remarkable degree of success and honor to himself 
and his race. The school is now in a flourishing 
condition and doing much good throughout the 
State of Alabama, and even in other States. 

Prof. E. E. Smith, a native North Carolinian, and 
a young man of the. post-bellum school, has quickly 
risen to fame by an appointment under President 
Cleveland as Minister of the U. S. Government to 
the Republic of Liberia. Mr. Smith served in this 
position for four years with honor and credit to 
himself and his country. Prior to his appointment as 
Minister to Liberia he was the worthy Principal of 
the Fayetteville, N. C, Normal School. He is a grad- 
uate of the famous Shaw University, and destined to 
reflect still greater honors on this his Alma Mater. 

Negro Race in America. 



Dr. J. C. Price, D. D., the well known temperance 
orator, lives in the hearts of many people. His 
clear and distinct voice, fascinating manner and 
excellent ability to handle a story, gives him a 
hearty welcome in every place to which he goes. 
He was the first colored preacher to stand in the 

178 A School History of the 

pulpit of Henry Ward Beecher, and now with the 
sympathy and love of a parent for his pupils, he 
with honor holds the position of President of Liv- ' 
ingston College, North Carolina. He is a native 
of North Carolina. 


The subject of this sketch, by the diligent use of 
the powers God gave her, has done much to demon- 
strate to the world what genius exists in the race 
she represents. Left an orphan in early life, she 
was not educated according to her desire, but was 
conscious of a power and a burning desire to make 
herself felt in the world. 

Her first visit to Boston proved the turning point 
in her life. When she for the first time saw the 
statute of Franklin, her soul was touched. While 
the dull stone seemed cold to others, there was a 
chord in her young soul which the cold lineaments 
played upon, and she exclaimed exultingly, "lean 
make a stone man." Win. Lloyd Garrison, always 
ready to help the race, introduced her to a leading 
Boston sculptor. He gave her some clay and a 
model of a human foot, saying, "Go home and 
make that ; if there is anything in you it will come 
out." Her first effort was brought back to the 

Negro Race in America. 179 

teacher, who examined it, then broke it to pieces 
telling her to try again. She did so, and succeeded. 
Her achievements since have placed her among the 
prominent artists of the world. She now resides 
at Rome, where her studio is the famed resort of 
art lovers the world over. Some of her works are, 
busts of Chas. Sumner, Lincoln, Hiawatha's Wooing, 
Forever Free, Hagar in the Wilderness, Madonna, 
with infant Christ and two adoring Angels. She 
was patronized by the leading Englishmen, such 
as Disraeli and others. 

T. T. Fortune, Esq., the well known and fear- 
less editor, was also a slave, born of slave parents 
in Florida. He is a deep thinker and an enthusi- 
astic and true worker for his race. A great agita- 
tor and denouncer of the wrong and encourager of 
the right, also an author and pamphleteer. 

Rev. W. J. Simmons, A. B., A. M., D. D., was, 
beyond question, one of the strongest characters of 
the race. He was the President of the Normal and 
Theological Institute at Louisville, Ky. At one 
time he was editor of the American Baptist, and 
did a telling work in that position by his strong 
editorials and telliug points in behalf of the inter- 
ests of the race. But Rev. Simmons is better 
known as an educator. He took charge of the 

1 80 A School History of the 

Institute at Louisville when nothing but failure 
seemed to stare it in the face; and from an appear- 
ance of hopeless ruin he has worked it up to a 
point of great excellency. It now stands as one of 
the most important factors of Negro education in 
the South, and its success is due to the indomita- 
ble energy, force and brain of Dr. Simmons. He 
has also furnished the literature of the race with a 
valuable work known as " Men of Mark." In it 
you will be pleased to read elegant sketches of 
many of the race's best men. 

The Hon. H. P. Cheatham is a son of Shaw Univer- 
sity, and a young man whose success is due to emanci- 
pation. He is now one of the colored members of 
our National Congress, having won his seat, through 
a most desperate contest, for the Second District 
of North Carolina. His record in Congress is 
good; not so much known, however, for his 
"much speaking,'' as for the devotion he shows to 
the interests of his race. Mr. Cheatham came 
up from the ranks of the school teachers, leaving 
off that work to take a position as Register of 
Deeds in his (Vance) county, which position he 
held creditably for a number of years, and which 
he resigned to run for Congress in iJ 

Negro Race in America. 


\ *1 


Hon. John R. Lynch is another son of whom we 
may be prond. He hid not his talents, but rather 
multiplied them. It was his honor to preside at 
the National Republican Convention in 1884 at 
Chicago. We know him as orator, lawyer, Con- 
gressman and prominent politician. 

Among the Noted Singers should be mentioned 
Madame Selika, "the colored Jenny Lind." Her 
voice is, perhaps, sweeter than the renowned Jenny 
Lind (white), and capable of greater variation 
in length and pitch. Madame Selika stands as a 

1 82 A School History of the 

prodigy among singers. She would stand near the 
head of modern female voices were it not that she 
is colored. 

Mrs. Francis Ellen Harper, a native of Baltimore, 
Maryland, was denied the opportunities of an educa- 
tion in her early days, but as soon as the way was 
opened she applied herself with such energy and 
earnestness as to develope her rare intellectual 
abilities and put her before the world as a grand, 
good woman. She is known as an entertaining 
lecturer and pleasing essayist. 

Miss Flora Batson Bergen is another representa- 
tive of the art of song. The wonder is that she 
renders the most difficult classical music from 
memory, being unable to read notes. She is an 
undoubted genius. 

Miss H. Q. Brown stands high as an elocutionist 
and reader of wonderful force and descriptive 

Negro Race in America. 



"Blind Tom," the Negro Musical Prodigy, is known 
as well in Bnrope as America. His correct name 
is Thomas Bethune. He was born May 25, 1849, 
at Columbus, Georgia. When a babe he seemed 
totally blind, but in later years he could see a 
little. His memory of dates, persons and places 
seems almost perfect. Shake his hand to-day 
and speak to him, tell your name, and ten years 
after he will recall your voice and name. He is 
uniformly and studiously polite, and entertains the 
highest regard for truth in all things. At four 

184 A School History of the 

3^ears of age he found his way to his master's piano 
for the first time. He had attempted to use his 
voice in imitating the piano and other sounds before 
this. He imitated all the sounds he knew on the 
piano, and when his supply was exhausted he 
began to compose for himself. He would play, as 
he would remark, " what the wind said" or the 
" birds said" or the "trees said." When five years 
old, during a thunder-storm he composed his "Rain 
Storm" which is so true to Nature that one 
imagines on hearing it that he can hear the thunder 
roar, and "looks for the lightning to flash." One 
author says of him : "I can't teach him anything; 
he knows more of music than we know or can 
know. We can learn all that great genius can 
reduce to rule and put in tangible form ; he knows 
more than that. I do not even know what it is ; 
but I feel it is something beyond my comprehen- 
sion. All that can be done for him will be to let 
him hear fine playing; he will work it all out for 
himself after a while." 

He plays the most difficult classical music of 
Mendelssohn and Bethoven, and cannot read a 
note. His marches include "Delta Kappa Kpsilon," 
by Peace; "Grand March de Concert," by Wal- 
lace. He imitates as perfectly as if natural," Bat- 
tle of Manassas," " Douglass' Speech,*' guitar, 

Negro Race in America. 185 

banjo, church organ, Dutch woman and hand- 
organ, a harp, Scotch bagpipe, and a music-box — 
all on the piano. His equal, if it]ever existed in the 
world, has not been known. He stands out as a 
phenomenon, a genius, a prodigy in black. He 
still lives, and is constantly improving and adding 
to his large stock of musical achievements. 

1 86 A School History of the 




In the Revolutionary War there were enlisted 
as soldiers in the American army quite a number 
of colored men who served faithfully and fought 
gallantly for the cause of American Independence. 
Among others who enlisted from North Carolina, 
were Louie Revels, John Lomax, Thomas Bell, 
Charles Hood and John Pettiford. All of these 
surviving the contest, drew as long as they lived 
a pension from the United States Government. 
When the Congress of freemen (freeholders) 
assembled at Halifax, and on the 18th day of 
December, 1776, ratified a Constitution for North 
Carolina, the elective franchise was extended to 
every freeman residing in the State who was 
twenty-one years of age and had paid a public tax. 
Under the provisions of this Constitution, all free 
colored persons living in North Carolina, who were 
twenty -one years of age and had paid a public tax, 
claimed and exercised the right to vote until the 

Negro Race in America. 187 

year 1835, a period of more than a half century, 
when the Convention which assembled that year, 
acting on the principle that might makes right, 
adopted an amended Constitution which barred 
them of that right. Having been barred of the 
right to vote by the provisions of the Constitution 
of 1835, in the year 1838 the question as to 
whether they were or were not citizens coming 
before the State Supreme Court, the following 
extract from the opinion of the Court, delivered by 
Gaston, Judge, will show that the Court decided that 
they were citizens : 

" Whatever distinctions may have existed in the 
Roman law between citizens and free inhabitants, 
they are unknown to our institutions. Before our 
Revolution all free persons born within the domin- 
ion of the King of Great Britain, whatever their 
color or complexion, were native-born British sub- 
jects — those born out of his allegiance were aliens. 
Slavery did not exist in England, but it did exist 
in the British Colonies. Slaves were not, in legal 
parlance, persons, but property. The moment the 
incapacity — or disqualification — of slavery was re- 
moved, they became persons, and were then either 
British subjects or not British subjects, according as 
they were or were not born within the allegiance of the 
British King. Upon the close of the Revolution no 

1 88 A School History of the 

other change took place in the law of North Caro- 
lina than was consequent upon the transition from 
a colony dependent on an European king to a free 
and sovereign State. Slaves remained slaves. 
British subjects in North Carolina became North 
Carolina freemen. Foreigners, until made mem- 
bers of the State, continued aliens. Slaves manu- 
mitted here became freemen — and, therefore, if born 
within North Carolina, are citizens of North Caro- 
lina — and all free persons born within the State 
are born citizens of the State." 

However, under the provisions of the amended 
Constitution, and the laws enacted subsequent to 
its ratification by the Legislature, there existed in 
North Carolina prior to the year 1865 three dis- 
tinct classes of people: The free white man, enjoy- 
ing and exercising all the rights and privileges of 
an American citizen; the free colored man, deprived 
of nearly all the rights and privileges of an Amer- 
ican citizen ; and the colored slave who, in legal 
parlance, was a mere chattel. Owing to this 
anomalous state of affairs, whatever was accom- 
plished by the genius, industry, effort, culture and 
literary attainments of the colored American resid- 
ing in the State, was studiously ignored and cast 
aside as not worthy to be recorded as a part and 
parcel of the history of the people of the State. 

Negro Race in America. 189 

To preserve the memory, as well as to perpetuate 
the work and worth of a very eminent colored 
citizen of North Carolina, I here present for the 
information of the youths, and all other persons 
who do not know anything of the history of his 
life, a biographical narrative of the Rev. John 
Chavers. This gentleman, a regularly ordained 
minister of the Presbyterian Church, came to 
the United States in the year 1822. He set- 
tled in North Carolina, and after remaining here 
for the period of time required by law, was natural- 
ized and became a citizen of the State and United 
States. In culture and literary attainments he 
far excelled a majority of all classes of the people 
living in the State at that day and date. A Chris- 
tain gentleman, possessing all the qualities which 
go to make a true and noble man, he was honored 
for his eminent ability and respected for his 
Christian character. He lived in the town of 
Fayette ville for a period of two years, preached and 
taught school. He removed from Fayetteville, 
and afterwards lived respectively in the counties 
of Franklin, Wake and Chatham, in each of which 
he preached and taught school. The school organ- 
ized and taught by him in Chatham County was 
patronized almost exclusively by the white people. 
In the light of present surroundings, it may seem 

190 A School History of the 

strange and incredulous that the white people of 

North Carolina would send their children to a col- 
ored school teacher and consent to have their lives 
and characters shaped and moulded by him, but 
this is accounted for in the fact that the recorded 
history of those times goes to show that classical 
scholars and thoroughly equipped school teachers 
were not near so plentiful among the white people 
then as they are now, and they were not so very 
particular as to the color of the " Gamaliel " at 
whose feet their children should sit, provided he 
had the ability and learning to impart the desired 
information. As evidence of this gentleman's emi- 
nence as an instructor, and the influence which his 
precept and example had upon the lives and char- 
acter of his pupils, I mention the names of a few 
who were so fortunate as to enjoy the benefit of his 
instruction and careful training. The late Honor- 
able Kenneth Rayner, one of his pupils, was well 
known to the people of North Carolina as an emi- 
nent lawyer, and, before the civil war, as a Repre- 
sentative from North Carolina in the United States 
Congress, and after said war was the able and efficient 
Solicitor General cf the United States Treasury 
under President Arthur's administration. Mr. 
Thomas J. Curtis, a successful business man, and 
for several years Mayor of the town of Fayetteville, 

Negro Race in America. 191 

was another, and yet another was the late Honor- 
able Abram Reneher, of Chatham County, who 
was one of the most distinguished men the State 
has ever produced. There were a great many 
others, but it is not necessary to mention by name 
any more. These are enough to show that if jus- 
tice had been done, this illustrious colored gentle- 
man would have had a place in the recorded history 
of the State of his adoption as one of her earliest, 
most successful educators and eminent men. 

192 School History of the Negro Race. 



Up to the present time the Negro has been a 
success in every avenue of life. As a soldier and 
citizen he has always been faithful to his country's 
flag; as a politician he has filled successfully many 
honorable positions, from that of a Town Constable 
to the Registry of the Treasury of the United 
States ; he has been a legislator, a senator, a judge, 
a lawyer, a juror, a shrewd business man, and won 
honor, respect and confidence in every such posi- 
tion, and all this in twenty-five years. Every sort 
of hindrance has been thrown in his way, but he 
is overcoming them all, and daily winning friends 
from the ranks of those most opposed to his prog- 
ress. Time is yet to bring forth better things for 
the race. Let there be patience and an honest, 
persistent endeavor to do the very best in every- 
thing, and ere long we shall "reap if we faint not." 
We shall rise, not by dragging others down, but by 
encouraging" those who are up to extend down to 
us the helping hand, which we must quickly grasp, 
and by its help lift ourselves up. 

» *